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Campaign Legal Center

Through litigation, policy analysis and public education, CLC works as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization to protect and strengthen the U.S. democratic process across all levels of government.
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

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North Carolina election officials warn people about voter intimidation at polling sites

Education and outreach can beat voter intimidation

Millions of Americans are already voting, and concerns about possible voter intimidation have been on the rise. President Trump's comments at the first presidential debate, along with similar calls for "poll watchers," have put a focus on groups that may try to interfere with the right to vote.

Thankfully, voter interference is against the law, and election officials can address the issue ahead of Election Day. Here's what we know: When it comes to intimidation, election officials are empowered to protect voters and maintain peace and safety at their polling locations. In fact, this is a core part of their responsibilities.

Education and community outreach are key to preventing potential trouble or defusing conflicts once they begin. Local election officials are well positioned to reach voters. They're among the most trusted sources of government information.

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Militia groups pose biggest election threat in five states, report says

NPR highlighted the findings of an alarming report by the Armed Conflict Event Data and Location Project, which found that discussion among militia groups about the U.S. election is more active and more specific than ever. Five swing states seem to be most at risk for armed followers showing up during the election or the weeks that follow: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon, according to the report, titled "Standing By."

The ACEDLP, which is known for its work tracking political violence and protests overseas, began monitoring potential disruptions to the U.S. election earlier this year. It teamed up with Militia Watch on the latest report.

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Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The test case for citizens' ability to sue, when the Federal Election Commission does not act, involves a group working for the re-election of GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa.

Enforcing money-in-politics rules is about to be left to you and me

Here's how far the Federal Election Commission has sunk in failing to carry out its job of overseeing the rules of presidential and congressional campaign finance.

Barring a highly unlikely turn of events, a sort of line of shame will be crossed in three months: For the first time, responsibility for enforcing the laws regulating money in federal politics will essentially pass to the citizenry, sidelining the agency created to do the work.

The FEC has not had enough commissioners to do any substantive business for almost all the past year, a consequence of the partisan deadlock over campaign finance regulation. Odds are scant any new members will be confirmed until after January's inauguration. And right around then, a dispute will have been gathering dust for so long at the FEC that the case can be moved to federal court.

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