National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) State-by-State Resources
State-by-State Guide to Laws Pertaining to the Role of Law Enforcement in Polling Locations
Federal and state laws provide guidance on the roles that police (and other uniformed officers) can have at polling places on Election Day or during in-person early voting. These regulations are intended to prevent intimidation or interference with freedom of elections.
State laws are varied, but in general, police may be present at polling places for the purpose of law enforcement.
Federal law clearly prohibits the deployment of troops and armed agents to polls.
• Ordering troops or armed forces to a polling place is a federal crime (18 U.S.C. § 592).
• Officers and members of the Armed Forces are generally prohibited from interfering in elections through intimidation of voters and other related conduct (18 U.S.C. § 593, §10102).
View State Statutes Governing the Presence of Police at Polling Places
Guns at Polling Locations
Ten states—Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas—the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico explicitly prohibit guns and other weapons in polling places.
In many other states, concealed and open carry laws may restrict or allow the presence of firearms in certain locations that happen to be polling places, but not by virtue of their being polling places alone. For example, states may prohibit firearms in public schools, which are often designated as polling places thereby prohibiting firearms at those specific polling sites.
View Restrictions on Guns and Other Weapons in Polling Places