The rightwing has put together an organization called “True the Vote“, which, true to its Orwellian nature, is actually going to try to stop people–who disproportionately happen to be those people–from voting:
There’s been a steadily building discussion, albeit shrouded in some mystery, about the potential impact on Election Day (and to some extent, before it) of right-wing “volunteer poll watchers” who are promising to descend on minority neighborhood to make sure the Pink Elephant threat of “voter fraud” does not transpire.
Much of the talk centers on True the Vote, a Houston-based, Tea-Party aligned group that is claiming it will deploying a million of such volunteers. These patriots, it seems, have all been trained to spot the nefarious (if imaginary) efforts of ACORN, the New Black Panther Party, and other representatives of the 47% to stuff the ballot box with the votes of illegal immigrants, welfare bums, and others who do not understand that “constitutional conservatism” is the only legitimate governing ideology for America.
True the Vote clearly does not represent an idle threat. Well before election day, reports are surfacing that it (or its state affiliates, like the Ohio Voter Integrity Project) is challenging the registration status of voters in battleground states based on changed addresses, residences listed on tax rolls as commercial property, and student addresses.
But it’s the specter of Election Day (or perhaps in-person Early Voting locations) that should trouble everyone, regardless of partisan affiliation. It’s hard to imagine a more dangerous scenario than that of hundreds of thousands of self-righteous suburban wingnuts showing up in poor and minority neighborhoods to hassle would-be voters, with Fox News cameras on hand to record any random examples of Solid Citizens experiencing resistance from annoyed locals.
Neutral election officials should be prepared and encouraged to call for police assistance in maintaining order the moment problems begin to arise and not wait until frustrations have mounted. The militants in the voter vigilante groups will have no hesitation about dismissing virtually all electoral monitors – state, federal or neutral third party — as collaborators in the sinister Democratic conspiracy but they will emphatically not want to be seen as clashing with the local police. The organizers of the voter fraud groups will not want to see video of their militants confronting policemen or news headlines that read “Voter fraud groups clash with police at polling places”
One of the interesting things about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (God save it!) is that, when you have finished voting, you have to check out, just as you ‘checked in’ (declare your name and address). But on the way out, you check out with a police officer (or other law enforcement official). Seems that would solve several problems, including “True the Vote.” It’s not a bad idea.