USA Today/Center for Public Integrity: ‘We’ll protect their right to vote’: How election officials are preparing for voter intimidation tactics
USA Today/Center for Public Integrity: 'We'll protect their right to vote': How election officials are preparing for voter intimidation tactics
Election officials across the country have begun reviewing security plans at early and Election Day voting sites, strengthening ties with local law enforcement and training poll workers to prepare for voter intimidation tactics.
Even before the presidential debate, when President Donald Trump urged his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully,” Michelle Wilcox, the director of elections in Auglaize County, Ohio, was concerned about disruptions at the polls this year. …
Rural voters may be more vulnerable to harassment because “issues can pop up and they’re not going to be as documented,” said Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, who said she is monitoring efforts by groups in north and south Georgia to recruit potentially armed “concerned citizens” to watch the polls. …
Some voting rights advocates add a note of caution, however. Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, wants voters to be aware of the issue and know to notify poll workers if they feel intimidated, but she worries they may feel discouraged to vote if they fear widespread intimidation or violence.
“We have to make sure that as we’re drawing attention to a problem that we’re not contributing to the problem,” she said. Almeida’s team recruited 2,000 poll monitors in the Keystone State and has run worst-case scenarios for months, focusing efforts on protecting individual voters at as many polling locations as possible.