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Analysis: 1 very concerning headline on the 2020 vote

But the headline — and the story –are both a) very important and b) very scary. Here’s the key bit:

“The Trump campaign has been videotaping Philadelphia voters while they deposit their ballots in drop boxes, leading Pennsylvania’s attorney general to warn this week that the campaign’s actions fall outside of permitted poll watching practices and could amount to illegal voter intimidation.”

How did the attorney general in Pennsylvania, who, it’s worth noting, is a Democrat, become aware of this surveillance effort? The Trump campaign, of course, which filed a complaint that alleged they had caught several people on camera casting multiple ballots.

Which is not illegal! According to Pennsylvania law, a third party can drop off the ballots of someone else if that person is disabled or not able to deliver the ballot on their own.

The surveillance of drop-off boxes by Trump campaign officials (and volunteers) is in keeping with the President’s repeated insistence that mail-in balloting is inherently corrupt and his urgings that those supportive of him need to serve as self-appointed vote monitors.

“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that’s what has to happen,” Trump said in the first presidential debate in September. “I am urging them to do it.”
There is a very fine line between appointed poll watchers, which do exist, and self-deputized vote monitors. The former is aimed at ensuring the free and fair conduct of an election. The latter may well have the effect — intentional or not — of intimidating those who turn out to cast a vote.

Trump seemed to suggest that he was fine with self-appointed vote monitors during an August interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“We’re going to have everything,” Trump told Hannity of his campaign’s poll-watching operation. “We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement, and we’re going to hopefully have US attorneys and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals. But it’s very hard.”

The Point: Democracy works best when everyone eligible to vote gets to vote. Scare tactics and intimidation hampers that from happening. We should all stand against that.


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