The Democratic National Committee is convinced the Republican National Committee and presidential nominee Donald Trump are in cahoots and are pushing supporters to become vigilante poll watchers in order to intimidate minority voters on Election Day. This week the DNC put its money where its mouth is and took the RNC to court in six states to officially put a stop to this kind of evil politicking – with mixed results. Some judges filed temporary restraining orders but others dismissed the charges due to a lack of evidence. This all comes after growing concerns about possible election violence as Trump continues to warn his supporters to be vigilant about massive voter fraud and the rigged system, and his refusal to say whether he will accept the election results.
Democrats say these tactics from a presidential candidate are worrying and part of a larger Republican racist effort to scare off minority voters – who typically vote to the left. Voter ID laws, restrictions on early voting times, and poll location closures have all been contentious issues this year, and with national and battleground state polls tightening these last few weeks, Trump’s rhetoric isn’t helping. But it’s still TBD on whether all this means there will be widespread voter intimidation and harassment on Tuesday.
While the rules vary from state to state, there are official poll watchers who do observe polling places on Election Day and point out problems to election officials, but they are usually banned from campaigning for a particular candidate or confronting voters directly. And while some individuals or fringe groups may wish to intimidate voters they have judged as “un-American” at their local polling place, they risk getting arrested - unless they go in disguise as a regular voter of course. Luckily they have no real reason to worry, since researchers found just 31 instances of voter impersonation out of a billion votes cast in numerous US elections between 2000 and 2014. Yep, time to switch to panic mode in 3…2…1…go!
Feeling intimidated? Thug life is calling. Movie for your mood: The Untouchables