WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz (CA-36) announced the introduction of the Vote Without Fear Act. The Vote Without Fear Act would prohibit armed intimidation at the voting booth. The 2020 general election saw multiple reports of individuals bringing firearms to polling places with the intent of intimidating other voters. After the election, armed protesters showed up at ballot counting locations in order to influence the outcome of the election. The Vote Without Fear Act would bring a stop to this voter intimidation practice by prohibiting the possession of a firearm within 100 yards of a federal polling place or ballot counting location.
“Americans being able to vote freely and of their own conscience is the bedrock of our democracy,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Armed intimidation at the polls is a Jim Crow-style voter suppression tactic for which we should have no tolerance. We thank Congressman Ruiz for introducing the Vote Without Fear Act, leading on this critical issue, and protecting voters — and our democracy — from violent extremists who wish to do them harm.”
“The ability to vote freely and without fear must be protected, but unfortunately gun extremists are increasingly trying to threaten our democratic process by intimidating voters and election workers,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Congressmen Ruiz’s legislation is one that will ensure safety and security at our poll sites and one that we’re proud to support.”
In January, Everytown released a report on ending armed assaults on our democracy following the January 6 insurrection. The report called for the prohibition of carrying firearms in or around sensitive government facilities and keeping firearms out of our elections. In addition, the report also recommended that:
- Federal and state lawmakers extend the prohibition on gun carrying to all state capitals and their grounds.
- Guns be prohibited at peaceful demonstrations on public property.
- States prohibit unauthorized, so-called “private militias,” from engaging in activities reserved for the state, including law enforcement activities.