Election Protection & Voter Assistance


Tim Mooney, Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort, Quyen Tu


Voting Rights


On this episode, we’ll discuss how different types of tax-exempt organizations can ensure the right to vote is protected by engaging in election protection activities and assisting voters at the polls, and potentially afterwards. Whether it’s poll monitoring, ballot curing, staffing an election protection hotline, or providing rides to the polls, we’ll discuss the rules that apply to 501(c)(3)s and 501(c)(4)s so that your organization can ensure that all eligible voices are heard this election season. 

Our Attorneys for This Episode:

Quyen Tu Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort Tim Mooney


  • Poll watching / observing 
  • Litigation
  • Rides to Polls  
  • Ballot chasing and curing  
  • Poll monitoring  
  • Count monitoring  
  • Voting education  
  • Nonpartisan activity 
    • No support or opposition of candidates 
    • Facts and Circumstances 
    • Follow FEC rules if federal candidates on ballots (no incentives for voting or registering to vote)  
  • State law often adds layers of complexity here – be sure to know what is allowed in your state
    • Ohio: must stay outside 100ft no-solicitation permitter when line warming 
    • Michigan: strict rules related to hiring a car to provide rides to the polls (effectively prohibited unless voter unable to walk) 
    • CO / TX: strict rules that apply when you want to hand out and collect voter registration applications 
  • Voter Assistance Series (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin) 
    • Voter Registration Rules 
    • Vote by Mail Rules 
    • Correcting errors on absentee ballots (ballot curing) 
    • Rides to Polls Rules 
    • Line Warming Activities   
    • Poll Watching 
    • What about selfies?  
  • Partisan Voter Protection 
    • Ballot Chasing and Curing can be done with a partisan focus (for instance, only trying to cure votes of one party, litigating on behalf of a candidate)   
    • Off limits for c3s, which must engage in nonpartisan advocacy ONLY  
    • Ok for c4s but counts as secondary activity