Optical tweezers can be used as a valuable tool to characterize electrophoretic display (EPD) systems. EPDs are ubiquitous with e-readers and are becoming a commonplace technology where reflective, low-power displays are required; yet the physics of some features crucial to their operation remains poorly defined. We utilize optical tweezers as a tool to understand the motion of charged ink particles within the devices and show that the response of optically trapped electrophoretic particles can be used to characterize electric fields within these devices. This technique for mapping the force can be compared to simulations of the electric field in our devices, thus demonstrating that the electric field itself is the sole governor of the particle motion in an individual-particle regime. By studying the individual-particle response to the electric field, we can then begin to characterize particle motion in ‘real’ systems with many particles. Combining optical tweezing with particle tracking techniques, we can investigate deviations in many particle systems from the single-particle case.