American, not Russian, police have been “directed by local election officials to question voters before letting them deposit their ballots, the deputies guarding the drop boxes underscore the growing schism in this country over the debunked claims that the 2020 election was marred by rampant vote fraud.” CNN (Nov.3, 2022), https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/03/politics/elections-law-enforcement-conspiracy-theories-invs/index.html
The ACLU, https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-when-encountering-law-enforcement-questioning reminds you:
Do you have to answer questions asked by law enforcement officers?
No. You have the constitutional right to remain silent. In general, you do not have to talk to law enforcement officers (or anyone else), even if you do not feel free to walk away from the officer, you are arrested, or you are in jail. You cannot be punished for refusing to answer a question. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before agreeing to answer questions. In general, only a judge can order you to answer questions.
What if I speak to law enforcement officers anyway?Anything you say to a law enforcement officer can be used against you and others. Keep in mind that lying to a government official is a crime but remaining silent until you consult with a lawyer is not. Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer.
What if I am asked to meet with officers for a “counter-terrorism interview”?
You have the right to say that you do not want to be interviewed, to have an attorney present, to set the time and place for the interview, to find out the questions they will ask beforehand, and to answer only the questions you feel comfortable answering. If you are taken into custody for any reason, you have the right to remain silent. No matter what, assume that nothing you say is off the record. And remember that it is a criminal offense to knowingly lie to an officer.
As Nellie King, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers explains:
The 2022 midterm elections are rapidly approaching, and the stakes are high. The right to vote is essential to democracy yet remains constantly under attack. Voter suppression efforts are on the rise, harkening back to our nation’s long history of racial discrimination.
This includes felony disenfranchisement laws, which prohibit individuals with a criminal conviction from voting. These laws, which bar nearly 4.6 million Americans from voting, sprouted from the roots of post-Reconstruction era attempts to strip Black communities of political power.
Also on the rise: criminal prosecutions targeting people for:
- voting or trying to vote;
- assisting voters (e.g., handing out water to voters and other line warming activities); or
- seeking to register voters.
These prosecutions rely on arcane provisions of voting law and on the proliferation of recent laws creating election-related crimes or escalating the investigation and prosecution of individuals who have earnestly sought to restore their voting rights or believed their voting rights had previously been restored.
We’ve already seen these prosecutions happening in states such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin. States across the country, most recently Virginia and Ohio, are creating “election integrity units” to increase the investigation and prosecution of election-related conduct, despite broad recognition and evidence that voter fraud is too rare to influence national elections. Nonetheless, these efforts are meant to intimidate voters and potential voters. The result is a dampening of voter participation in communities most impacted by the criminal legal system, particularly communities of color.