Here's what to do if you encounter harassment at the polls in Texas on voting day

Voting rights groups said incidents of harassment are incredibly rare. Just they same, they operate voter-protection hotlines in multiple languages.

A coalition of voting rights groups is dispatching volunteers to watch for voter intimidation. - Shutterstock
A coalition of voting rights groups is dispatching volunteers to watch for voter intimidation.
With partisanship at a fever pitch and Texas' Republican-controlled state legislature giving poll watchers more ability to move around voting places, voting rights advocates have raised concerns about voter intimidation this cycle.

Even so, civil rights groups are urging voters to exercise their right to cast a ballot and not be intimidated. While incidents of voter intimidation do happen, they're incredibly rare, according to experts.

If someone does try to obstruct your right to vote, a coalition of Texas voting rights groups has established voter protection hotlines — including one specifically for people with disabilities — that can connect voters to attorneys. Those hotlines operate in multiple languages.

Their numbers are:
  • English: (866) OUR-VOTE or (866) 687-8683
  • Spanish: (888) VE-Y-VOTA or (888) 839-8682
  • Asian Languages: (888) API-VOTE or (888) 274-8683
  • Arabic: (844) YALLA-US or (866) 925-5287
  • ASL Video Calls: (301) 818-VOTE or (301) 818-8683
  • Disability Rights Texas: (888) 796-VOTE or (888) 796-8683
"If a voter feels like they're being harassed or intimidated, they can call that number, no matter what county they're in," said Joaquín Gonzalez, senior supervising attorney for voting rights for the Texas Civil Rights Project, one of the coalition members. "No voter should put themselves in danger."

The coalition has also dispatched volunteers to polling places around the state to monitor for intimidation. While TCRP has documented isolated incidents in places including the Galveston and Austin areas during the current election cycle, it's not found any in San Antonio yet.

Those with voting concerns also can contact the Texas Secretary of State's Office's helpline at (800) 252-VOTE. Those needing to check whether they're currently registered in Bexar County can do so at the county election office's website.

Gonzalez also recommended that voters arrive early at the polls Tuesday in event of long lines. However, those who can't should be aware that if they're in line at the time the polls close at 7 p.m. are still legally allowed to vote.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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