“Watch all the stealing and cheating,” Donald Trump called on his supporters at a rally in North Carolina. “Be an election observer!”
It is calls like this that fit into the President of the United States’ strategy. Over and over again Trump makes the same unproven or long-disproved claims that the Democrats will cheat in the upcoming presidential election to win the election. Electoral officials already fear that Trump will thus provoke unrest in the voting.
Trump fans block a polling station in Virginia
Most recently, the appearance of Trump fans in front of a polling station in Fairfax County, Virginia, where citizens can already vote, triggered the alarm. The group stood in front of the building, waving flags and shouting: “Four more years!” Later they formed a chain so that voters could not go directly into the building, but had to go around the outside.
In addition, a loudly honking car convoy drove past voters who were waiting in front of the polling station to cast their votes. While supporters did not specifically prevent these voters from voting, some said they felt intimidated and unsafe by the action.
Such actions are a direct result of Trump’s rhetoric – and cause headaches for election officials. In any case, the situation in the USA is tense in many cities, with protesting and often armed groups from left and right facing each other. Concern that violence could break out in front of polling stations is added to the fact that election officials and officials are having to hold an election amid a still raging pandemic. Officials try to stress again and again that the election is democratic and transparent.
Republicans want to recruit 50,000 election observers
Still, the Fairfax incident prompted Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring to issue a statement, stating that there are laws in place that prohibit voter intimidation: “Voting is a fundamental right. It is the bedrock of our democracy, and no Virginian should ever feel safe or intimidated while exercising his or her right to vote. “
Trump’s election campaign team and the Republican party have announced that they will hire up to 50,000 election observers for the particularly controversial states. It should be noted here that party observers are generally not unusual. The law expressly allows these observers, but they are bound by certain conditions. You must be officially registered, then you can stay in the polling stations and watch the voting and counting. However, they are not allowed to influence voters in their voting, but are primarily used as witnesses to enable a fair election and to act as a witness in any legal disputes.
President son calls “Trump Army” for help
The official election committee is not concerned about the official election observers, who have been around for many years. It is the self-proclaimed election observers – the ones who might show up unannounced – who worry them more. Especially because Trump and his team use their rhetoric to give these people a feeling that borders on calls for vigilante justice.
In a Facebook video by Donald Trump Jr., he calls for people to join “Trump’s army”. “We need every man and woman able to work to join the army for Trump’s election security operation,” says the president’s son in the video. “You have to help us to watch them.” He also expresses unproven allegations of election fraud in the video.
Trump does not want to accept the election result if he loses
Trump’s campaign strategy has consisted of declaring the election rigged for months. In the past few weeks, the president has indicated several times that he will not accept the election result if he loses the election. It would be the first time in the history of the United States that there has been no peaceful handover of the presidency. Again and again Trump stressed in the election campaign that he could only lose this election if it was manipulated.
False information live on TV
In the first televised debate against Democratic challenger Joe Biden, Trump also misinformation that his election observers in Philadelphia were being prevented from watching a polling station for early voting. “There was a big problem today,” he said live on TV. “In Philadelphia they went in [ein Wahllokal]to watch. They are called election observers. It’s a very safe, very beautiful thing. You were kicked out. They weren’t allowed to watch. Do you know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things, ”said the president.
The truth is a little more complicated. In fact, Trump supporters had been asked to leave a Philadelphia municipal building. But there were various reasons for this: First, it was not a polling station, but an office for postal votes. Second, Trump’s campaign team has not yet registered any official registered election observers in Philadelphia. Because of the Corona crisis, in many places only a small number of people are allowed to be in public buildings at the same time.