New! Guidance for Election Officials outlining actions election officials can take to address and prevent voter intimidation, including by armed individuals or groups

New! Guidance for Law Enforcement outlining actions law enforcement can take to address and prevent voter intimidation, including by armed individuals or groups

New! Fact sheet on video recording in or near polling places

Fact sheet on voter intimidation laws, detailing what kinds of conduct could constitute voter intimidation, and what to do if you experience voter intimidation. Una versión de este recurso sobre la intimidación de votantes se puede encontrar en español aquí.

Fact sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive.

After the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville led to violence and death, we at ICAP concluded that private paramilitary activity was at the core of the weekend’s mayhem.  We soon filed suit on behalf of the City of Charlottesville, downtown businesses, and neighborhood associations seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent a recurrence of such dangerous privatized use of force.

We prevailed, securing court orders prohibiting a range of groups and individuals from returning to Charlottesville as, in essence, rogue armies. The success in court underscored the importance of adopting a litigation approach grounded in law enforcement sensibilities but ultimately aimed at restoring to the public square the capacity for genuine advocacy and the peaceful exchange of ideas.

ICAP has released a 50 State Catalog of laws prohibiting private armies at public rallies, fact sheets detailing those laws for each state, as well as a toolkit discussing legal principles, best practices, and creative solutions upon which local jurisdictions may draw to protect public safety while respecting constitutional rights during rallies, protests, and other public events.

ICAP has recently partnered with Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez to file a civil suit against the New Mexico Civil Guard for its actions during a protest at the statue of Spanish conquistador, Juan de Oñate, in Albuquerque, challenging the group as violating New Mexico state law against unlawful paramilitary and law enforcement activity.

Our Work

  • 10/27/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Washington County, Utah, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/27/20 – Published guidance outlining actions election officials can take to address and prevent voter intimidation, including by armed individuals or groups
  • 10/23/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Montgomery, New York, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/23/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity in Lakeland, Florida, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/23/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Erie, Pennsylvania, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/21/20 – Published guidance outlining actions law enforcement can take to address and prevent voter intimidation, including by armed individuals or groups
  • 10/19/20 – Publicamos, en español, un recurso sobre protección contra la intimidación de votantes
  • 10/16/20 – Published a fact sheet on video recording in or near polling places
  • 10/2/20 – Published a fact sheet on voter intimidation laws, what kinds of conduct could constitute voter intimidation, and what to do if you experience voter intimidation
  • 9/18/20 – Published fact sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive
  • 9/4/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Weatherford, Texas, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 9/2/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Tyler, Texas, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 8/26/20 – Sent letters to local officials and the Wisconsin Attorney General in response to private paramilitary activity in Kenosha, Wisconsin, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 8/21/20 – Sent letters to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Elkton and Broadway, Virginia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 7/29/20 – Held a launch event for our toolkit discussing legal principles, best practices, and creative solutions upon which local jurisdictions may draw to protect public safety while respecting constitutional rights during rallies, protests, and other public events
  • 7/28/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Louisville, Kentucky, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/25/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/19/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Bonner County, Idaho, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/18/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Campbell County, Virginia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/17/20 – Sent letters to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Bedford County and Appomattox County, Virginia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/11/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Altavista, Virginia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 1/8/20 – Published an op-ed laying out the reasons why a recent movement by local governments to declare themselves Second Amendment “sanctuaries” is legally dubious
  • 10/2/19 – Published an op-ed calling attention to militia groups emboldened by the president’s statements and in violation of state and federal laws
  • 8/18/19 – Published an op-ed describing how state and federal law prohibits private militias from operating outside of state authority
  • 7/1/19 – Published an op-ed highlighting how federal law prohibits private militias from assuming the duty of Border Patrol officers
  • 1/2/19 – Published an op-ed outlining how local jurisdictions can protect public safety at protests and rallies while preserving constitutional rights
  • 11/12/18 – Submitted a statement supporting a proposed Portland, Oregon, ordinance authorizing content-neutral time, place, and manner regulations for demonstrations held in the city
  • 11/7/18 – Published an op-ed calling on border state governors to use their state laws to stop the private militias from deploying to the border to “assist” the U.S. military and Customs and Border Patrol
  • 8/10/18 – Published an op-ed in the Washington Post with the former mayor of Charlottesville explaining how local jurisdictions around the country can use existing constitutional provisions and state laws to prevent unauthorized paramilitary activity
  • 8/9/18 – Filed an expert declaration identifying threats to national security, law enforcement, and foreign policy posed by widespread availability of code for 3D-printed guns
  • 2/8/18 – Released a 50 State Catalog of laws prohibiting private armies at public rallies