Calling all Citizens: You Have a Right to Record
Today is a day we can (and should) all be journalists, especially if we witness voter suppression. Here’s how to do it safely.
Video the Vote is a nonpartisan effort to train thousands of people to document any instances of voter suppression and disenfranchisement at polling places across the U.S. The group is particularly interested in finding people who can livestream from swing states where there is a heightened concern about ongoing voter-suppression efforts (see a full list of target counties here). Video the Vote is even offering a $100 stipend to volunteers.
If you’re planning to record from a polling place or interview voters, it’s important you know your rights and understand local laws. Video the Vote has put together a great set of resources to help citizen journalists. A few key points from the group’s Election Day Code of Conduct include:
- Observe and document; don’t influence.
- Remain a legal distance from the polling place.
- Get permission from voters before you film them.
- Never argue with a poll worker.
Before you head out, contact Barni Qaasim at Video the Vote at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to connect with other citizen journalists in your area.
Harvard’s Digital Media Law Project has an excellent and detailed legal guide to documenting the vote.
FJP: Go vote! Be smart. And be fearless.