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What you should watch out for on Election Day

Latinos could face a variety of barriers at the polls. Here are some tips for how to deal with them.
7 Nov 2016 – 05:56 PM EST
Voters line up to cast their ballot in San Francisco, California. Crédito: AP/Jeff Chiu

Univision is part of Electionland, a coalition of media companies working to track voting problems in real time. During early voting, we identified a series of problems that could also come up on Election Day.

Here's what to watch for, and what you can do if it happens.

Long lines: There's been record turnout during early voting in states like Florida and Nevada, causing longer-than-usual lines. In other states -- particularly in the South -- the number of polling places has been slashed, which also causes lines. Historically, Latino voters tend to wait longer in line than whites; in 2012, for example, Hispanic voters waited an average of 19 minutes in line, compared to 12 for whites, one study found.

What you can do: Let us know. Text ELECTIONLAND to 69866 and tell us how long you waited. If you're still waiting in line when the polls are about to close, don't worry. Call Election Protection at 1-866-OUR VOTE and a lawyer will help you.

ID problems: Since 2010, 10 states have passed more restrictive voter ID laws. Texas passed one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country, and although a court overturned it, there's still a lot of confusion about what voters can use to prove their identity, including misinformed poll workers and outdated signs.

What you can do: Find out what documents you need before heading to the polls ( here's a guide for Texas). If you get to the polling place and the election worker won't accept your form of ID, call 1-866-OUR VOTE and a lawyer can assist you. If you are initially denied the right to vote, you may be able to vote by provisional ballot, but check with an Election Protection expert first.

Registration issues: Some voters get to the polls only to find that their names have been removed from the rolls -- which has been a problem especially for minority voters. In North Carolina, for example, thousands of voters were removed from the rolls in the months leading up to Nov. 8, though a judge ordered the names be added back. In New York City, where 120,000 voters were removed from the rolls during the 2016 primary, a judge ruled that anyone who believes they are registered but doesn't appear on the rolls can vote by provisional ballot.

What you can do: Only 12 states allow for same-day registration if you haven't registered already. If you believe you have registered and the poll worker can't find your name, call Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. You may be able to vote by provisional ballot, but check with a Election Protection expert first.

Language barrier: In some states like Georgia, there's been insufficient translation for Spanish-speaking voters. Under the Voting Rights Act, all Spanish speakers are guaranteed oral assistance and are allowed to bring a Spanish speaker to help them understand the ballot.

What you can do: If there's not a Spanish ballot or a Spanish-speaking poll worker to help you, you can bring a Spanish speaker with you into the voting booth. If poll workers give you trouble, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to ensure your right is respected.

Voter intimidation: There have been several cases of voter intimidation during early voting, like people yelling at Hillary Clinton supporters on bullhorns in West Palm Beach, Florida. Intimidation can also include harassment, contesting a person's vote based on race, threatening people as they wait in line to vote or distributing leaflets with false information about voting.

What you can do: If someone harasses or threatens you, let a poll worker know. You can also call the local police department and/or your local board of elections, or call Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report any voter intimidation.

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