The Donald Trump website has a new way to engage his supporters. Trump has already claimed that the fall election will be rigged, and it now encouraging supporters to become “Trump Election Observers.” Trump’s website has a sign up form, though there is very little information revealed. I signed up for more details, but all I got was an invitation to donate, though Team TRUMP did thank me twice for my help.
As WSTLAY reported yesterday, Trump told a gathered crowd in Altoona, PA that “the only way they can beat [us], in my opinion, and I mean this 100%, if in certain sections of the state they cheat.” After Trump asked them to “go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times,” he has actually seemed to create an organization for these people to keep watch. This despite the fact that voter fraud is vanishingly rare, the cheering Trump supporters seemed enthused.
The only problem is that a political candidate doing this is probably illegal. After a court case in 1982 where minority voters were intimidated out of voting by off-duty Republican police officers, the two parties settled by agreeing to not use certain tactics of voter intimidation.
Trump’s mention of “certain areas” and “certain sections” almost definitely refers to African American sections of Philadelphia, as Trump pulls out the racial dog whistle again for the white voters of Pennsylvania. There were widely discredited accusations of voter fraud in African American sections of Philadelphia in the 2012 election. This seems to be in direct violation of Part E of the 1982 agreement between Republicans and Democrats.
In that agreement, both parties are prohibited from “undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts where the racial or ethnic composition of such districts is a factor in the decision to conduct, or the actual conduct of, such activities there and where a purpose or significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting.”
Trump has already called upon law enforcement to help in his efforts, saying Altoona that “we have to call up law enforcement. And we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everybody watching.” It is not a stretch to think that Trump will next call on his “Second Amendment folks” to make sure the election is not rigged.
If Trump or Trump supporters are acting as agents of the Republican party and are found in violation, they could be found in contempt of court. As of right now it is unclear exactly what “everything we are legally allowed to do to stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election” consists of. If Election Observers do more than observe and attempt to keep people from voting it could mean stiff penalties for the Republicans and Trump himself.