Into Intimidation at the Polls

President Trump wants tens of thousands of poll watchers. Experts point to the past and worry it could veer into voter intimidation.

About this episode:

For months, the Republican party and the Trump campaign have been warning, without evidence, that voter fraud could be a deciding factor in the election. They say they are amassing an army of poll watchers to make sure that doesn’t happen. But election officials and advocates worry these tactics could intimidate Democratic voters, especially in Black and brown communities. Poll watching is legal. Voter intimidation is not.

In this episode, host Trymaine Lee explores a time in the not-so-distance past when voter intimidation played a big role in an important election. Mark Krasovic, a history professor at Rutgers University, tells the story of the 1981 gubernatorial election in New Jersey, when the Republican National Committee organized groups of men, some of them armed, to patrol precincts in minority neighborhoods in the name of ballot security.

Could the same thing happen in 2020? Jane Timm, NBC News political reporter, joins Trymaine to discuss what we know about the GOP’s ballot security efforts in this election and for a better understanding of what poll watchers can and can’t do.

Find the transcript here.

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