‘Stand watch at the polls’: Conservative Nevada group hires paid ‘Election Reps’ for voter suppression
Donald Trump’s repeated calls for his supporters to monitor polling places on Election Day are increasingly dangerous as various state Republican parties have echoed Trump’s proposal.
Earlier this month, the North Carolina Wake County Republican Party chair, Charles Hellwig sent out a letter to his community that read, “We are under assault by the Alinskey-esque tactics of the Democrats and their extremist ideology, which demands they take whatever action necessary to achieve their desired results.”
His letter was a call for supporters to sign up and volunteer on Election Day as “poll observers.” Hellwig’s is not the only call to action in what some are referring to as historically racist voter intimidation tactics.
On Friday, political analyst Jon Ralston shared on Twitter a similar call to action that was made by Nevada Grassroots.
The organization wrote in a post on their website that they were looking for “hard-working, professionals, who are interested in politics” and want to help shape this year’s election.
“We are currently hiring Election Representatives to assist with voting integrity,” the post continues. The position they are hiring for requires individuals to “stand watch” at polling places and the call was directed toward Republicans in particular.
In NV: “Do you care about Election Integrity? Now hiring Republicans to stand watch at the polls to ensure a fair election.” Here we go. pic.twitter.com/8ouLUVVmRp
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) October 28, 2016
Another organization linked to Trump recently released a script for “citizen journalists” to intimidate voters at polling places, as well.
The organization, called Vote Protectors offered resources to volunteers interested in monitoring polling places, including fake ID badges, and told their volunteers to film voters.
Such tactics of intimidation are incredibly dangerous, and target black voters and people of color heading to the polls, in particular.
Trump has made calls at his rallies for his supporters to “Go out,” and “watch your polling booths,” specifying, “Certain areas. I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about.”
During a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, he told his supporters “We’re gonna watch Pennsylvania. Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times.”
However, addressing a predominately white support base about voter fraud in “certain areas” plays into a racist narrative.
On voters rights and security on Election Day, the deputy director of voting rights at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center, Danielle Lang told the Huffington Post, “It’s important for voters to understand that they should not automatically trust that everyone who walks up to them at a polling station is an official election worker.”