Voter restriction and intimidation has long been a part of American history—from the banning of women and African-Americans from the polls, to the lynching of Blacks who’d eventually won and exercised their right to vote, to the strategic and continued attacks on current voting rights laws.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for his supporters to “go out and watch” the polling stations on November 8 to ensure that no voter fraud occurs. Despite the fact that voter fraud is an extremely rare occurrence—The Washington Post reported some 241 instances of fraud out of 1 billion votes cast over 14 years—Trump has incited his base to illegally police the polls.
The call, if taken seriously, could have detrimental effects on our voting process through suppression and disenfranchisement of minority voters.
Civic group Election Protection is seeking to counter those effects.
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The coalition is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan voter protection program, and it has set up a hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE to field calls from voters about any issues they may be experiencing at the polls. Volunteers with the group will also be on the ground in 26 states to help ensure that everyone has fair and equal access to the polls.
A representative from Election Protection has said that they’ve already received more than 50,000 calls from voters who are worried about suppression tactics. Voters are encouraged to use the hotline to report any complaints they may have from now until Election Day.