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Video: Trump’s campaign is building an army of poll watchers. What can they actually do?

This year, as the president referred to, “Fraud like you’ve never seen. They have these fake ballots. They are trying to rig an election, and we cannot let that happen. I hope you all are going to be poll watchers. “His language took on an almost militaristic tone.” “Go into the polls and watch very carefully. Be poll watchers when you go. Look at all the flights, thefts and thefts they do. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the US election. Yet the president is talking about recruiting an army of election observers. “He took on such an aggressive character that we’ve never seen before. It‘s very scary for election officials. “He paints the observation of the polls with a veneer of antagonism, of combat and not in the spirit of protecting our elections.” But that’s more than rhetoric. This year, the Republican Party can put its weight behind the President’s poll-watching operations in ways we haven’t seen in nearly 40 years. To understand why, let’s take a trip back in time – “Everywhere I go people ask me what a vacation in New Jersey looks like” – to a governor’s race in New Jersey in 1981. am running in this election, it was a very interesting election, to say the least. It was Democratic candidate James Florio. And here it is now. “It was a long time ago, 40 years ago.” The race was an early referendum on the Reagan administration. “I love Tom Kean.” “Kean endorsed Reaganomics and proposed cuts in state business taxes. Democratic candidate Congressman James Florio is attacking both Reagan and Kean’s economic plan. “We thought it would be an election on the substance of the issues” – “revitalize our railways, clean up toxic waste, strengthen law enforcement” – “turned out not all involved the substance. It was the most contested election in the history of the state. But in the end, it wasn’t a clean fight. “Election day was a surprise for many people who went to the polls because people saw police officers on leave with armbands saying ‘members of the Ballot Security Working Group.’ ” “This is the Republican group that State Democrats say intimidated some minority voters.” “It sounded very official. And they were standing there with their guns.“ They blocked voters from voting. But they also hampered access for election officials. More than 200 members of the task force turned up at the polls, confronting voters in Democratic strongholds. They were in Newark but not in Short Hills. They were in Trenton but not in Princeton. And Camden but not Cherry Hill. “If you look at the demographics of the neighborhoods targeted for these efforts, they were all predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhoods. White voters were not targeted in the same way at all.” So it was clear that they didn’t care about the integrity of the ballots. They were concerned about the bullying. It was a very smart and sinister move. In the end, Florio lost by a thin margin razor sharp. “1,797 votes out of 2.3 million votes. The intimidation had an impact on the election result. “It’s a bitter business of Democrats who don’t know how to win.” But it wasn’t just a local effort. Investigations suggest that the task force was organized and funded by the Republican National Committee. “A covert operation which was at the very least intentionally misleading and which resulted in technical violations of our electoral laws.” Democrats sued the RNC for violating the franchise law. The RNC was forced to enter into a federal consent decree that would restrict them for years to come. “For most of the past four decades, the National Republican Party has been subject to a consent decree that has limited its ability to coordinate some of these poll-watching activities.” “So this created a mechanism that deterred any further intimidation of voters and also created a check on future efforts of the RNC that might target minority communities. Under the terms of the consent decree, the RNC was to obtain court approval for the survey observation plans. The party tried in vain for many years to get out of this. “And they have broken the consent decree at least three times since it was put in place.” Then in 2017, the court allowed the decree of consent to expire, setting up another type of fight in 2020. “This will be the first presidential election where we will see the National Republican Party operate a ballot observation operation without the decree of consent does not hover over their heads. Now that it has been lifted, it looks like there will be a more organized and significant poll-watching operation from the National Republican Party. Republicans say they train more than 50,000 poll observers in at least 15 battlefield states. They have published a series of carefully written training presentations for volunteers. “Election observers are President Trump’s first line of defense. Be courteous to county staff and other observers. Yes, even our Democratic friends. Do not speak with voters and do not interfere with the proper conduct of the poll. Their presence at the polls is perfectly legal if they follow the rules. During early voting this year, there were a few potential violations. The Pennsylvania attorney general has called for illegal surveillance of a Philadelphia ballot box. And local Florida news reported two armed private security guards stationed near an early voting site. “Two armed security guards showed up outside the early voting location in downtown St. Pete.” “Almost since the president called on his supporters to watch the polls, election officials and law enforcement across the country have somehow braced themselves for what could be an influx of people who don’t know the rules. and regulations for survey observation. In a statement, the RNC said its poll observers had received rigorous training to follow state laws and were not there to be intimidating. “The big unknown is exactly the magnitude and extent of the deployment of these poll observers and whether they will have marching orders from the Republican Party or the Trump campaign to really question the eligibility of a group of election observers. ‘voters or if they’ I will sort of follow the more traditional methods. Ultimately, the consent decree offered a legal shortcut to stopping RNC’s survey monitoring operations if they crossed the line. “What’s important to keep in mind is that tactics that were illegal in 1980 are just as illegal in 2020. No political party or private party has ever been allowed to engage in bullying. racial or voter intimidation of any kind. And so we are not unprotected. We are not without the tools to fight it. But we have one less in our arsenal. “If we see a repeat of the same type of thing this time around, we’ll have to go back to court. I can authoritatively be the person who can be final and say that small margins make a big difference. “