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Thread: "Monitoring" the polls - Questions for Trump Supporters

  1. #1
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    "Monitoring" the polls - Questions for Trump Supporters

    Knowing that there are a few Trump supporters around here, and that Trump has called on his supporters to 'monitor' the polls, watching for voter fraud, I have a few queries for Trump supporters:

    Do you intend to answer that call? If so, what do you plan to do, precisely?

    Rules vary from place to place, but it's common that poll watchers need to be registered on behalf of a party - each candidate can send a fixed number of poll watchers (i.e. one or two) to each poll. So the next question for people who plan to watch the polls: Are you familiar with the requirements for poll watchers in your jurisdiction? Have you appropriately registered?

    Moreover, in most jurisdictions, there are specific limits on what a poll watcher can do. It's pretty common that poll watchers aren't allowed to wear any political insignia, and in some jurisdictions they aren't even allowed to *talk* to voters. In some jurisdictions, poll watchers are able to keep track of who has or hasn't voted (this is traditionally utilized by parties for GOTV purposes), but not always. In general, it's possible for a poll watcher to 'challenge' a voter (on one of several specified bases), but that's not license for the poll watcher to investigate or interrogate the voter beforehand. For those who expect to be poll watchers: Do you know what the actual powers of a poll watcher in your jurisdiction are?

    In most places, if you don't meet the requirements of a poll watcher, you aren't going to be allowed to loiter in or around the polling location. So for those who aren't going to be 'official' poll watchers, but nonetheless intend to 'monitor' the polls, where do you intend to monitor them from? What do you expect to be watching for?

  2. #2
    Needs to get out more DHaran's Avatar
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    The only reported attempts at voter fraud in recent memory have been committed in the last 2 weeks..... by Trump voters.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHaran View Post
    The only reported attempts at voter fraud in recent memory have been committed in the last 2 weeks..... by Trump voters.
    Certainly, the Trumpite speculation of widespread voter fraud is a paranoid fiction. It's not unusual to see *some* measure of dirty tricks on election day, but those are generally about voter suppression, trying to prevent opposing voters from getting to the polls. (As a light and satirical example of this, consider the recent viral image warning Republicans that Obama is sending out squads to take their guns away on November 8, so they'd better stay home to guard their guns! As a darker example, in the 2011 Canadian election, people arranged automated diallers to call identified non-supporters of their party, basically saying, "This is Elections Canada, and we've moved your polling station across town.")

    It's also fairly normal for candidates to look for volunteers to help watch the polls, both to ensure transparency and fairness, and also to help with GOTV efforts. These are usually some of the same volunteers who go out canvassing before the election. And there are rigourous sets of rules. (I scrutineered the counting of special ballots for a candidate in the last Canadian election. The special ballots are even more complicated than normal, and the candidate sent me, because as a lawyer I was relatively well-equipped to deal with it. They gave me several pages of information about the counting beforehand, and I felt thoroughly underwhelmed by that information, so I actually studied the relevant sections of the Canada Elections Act...and I was glad I did, because it allowed me to educate the guy in charge when he tried to tell me [in the style of a grizzled army colonel, which I suspect he was] that I wasn't allowed to challenge irregular ballots, I was able to point him to the specific sections of the CEA which authorized those challenges and set out a process for dealing with them. The point I'm making is that this isn't just a "you show up and watch for stuff" event; there's specific training, information, and registration that you need in order to meaningfully watch the polls without actually interfering with the election process itself.)

    But the way that Trump has cast this is unusual, as if they need *numbers* to guard against fraudulent Dem supporters. Not one or two poll watchers in each poll to challenge voters where appropriate, but people to 'stop' suspected voter fraud. And I'm really not sure what Trump supporters think that means. Because if we do get posses of Trump supporters showing up at the polls thinking that they're entitled to demand people's proof of citizenship or physically prevent someone from voting if they think he's already voted (noting that many Trump supporters can't tell apart people of visible minorities), then we could well see widespread voter intimidation if not outright violence at the polls, and that would make this election the most democratically compromised in the history of the country.

    Hence why I'm asking the questions. I'm genuinely curious as to what Trump supporters think they're being asked to do here.

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