Okay, the Republicans have been working for a while now to find a way to have some impact on the voting process in November, perhaps by building an army of poll watchers to poll watch in states where Donald Trump needs electoral votes to climb to the magical 270 that will make him president again.
He’s already trying to mess with the election. Here’s what the Times reports.
One way this traditionally has happened is that someone spreads a rumor in black communities that folks who owe child support are going to be arrested when they show up at the polls, or their citizenship will be challenged, whatever might be suggested that would make a person sit the election out instead of pursuing a Constitutional right and obligation. It is racist to do this, of course, and illegal. But that’s only one of the tactics that has been used in the past.
I don’t know what form this will take, and I would suggest neither do the Republicans who are trying to figure out how to have some impact. But that is just the point. Instead of waiting to see what they are up to, just assume they are up to something and go to vote in November (or better, get a mail in ballot) with all your sensors on because who knows?Presidential contests are sometimes won on the margins by collecting just enough votes to shift support in a district from one candidate to another. In close ones, it only takes one vote to do that. That’s how Trump got an electoral college victory that was in no way justified by the numbers. Hillary Clinton beat him by 3 million votes. He simply got his margins in just the the places.
Most of all, don’t let anyone deter you from voting for any reason. The presence of the virus that has kept us all locked in place these past few months might well be an excuse someone will use to tell you to stay home. You can short circuit that attempt by asking for a mail in ballot early on, giving you the chance to vote absentee. I am sure there will be an effort to fool with the mails somehow before the election, so you should not put up with that, either. Call your Congressional representative NOW and tell them you support the U. S. Postal service and want it to be funded and healthy.
The basic argument the Republicans have always made about this stunt is that there is huge election fraud we just don’t know about and it always plays to the benefits of Democrats. That’s why they want a couple of hundred thousand poll watchers to hang around on Election Day and watch everything closely. That is the ideal for poll watching. But the reality is frequently intimidation. Get a bunch of locals to show up with “National Election Watch” t-shirts or something official-looking like that and suggest some wrong-doing in media somehow. Anything to make people uncomfortable. That’s not to say there isn’t vote fraud anywhere, but it is so localized and specific that it simply can’t generalize into a result in a Presidential Election.
But the ardor of the poll watchers might well be intense enough to deter some people from voting. That is wrong and illegal and you should feel free to call anyone on it who tries to interfere with your vote. Use your cellphone. Take a picture. Record it. Whatever you need to do to send the message that this is not okay.
Why would the Trump Republicans want to do this?
This is where it gets hinky to a huge degree. The Trump forces will almost certainly lose on Election Day and their response will be to claim the election was stolen from them. Stranger things have happened in the world of the hanging chad and Russian interference, among other things.
So don’t let them do it.
Your vote is yours to cast. Don’t let anyone get in your way, either at the polls or when you drop your ballot into the local mailbox.