U.S. voters will decide who will become their next president in less than a week. Some voters, however, want to police how others—particularly Black people—cast their ballot, and they are threatening to use intimidation, hidden cameras and “exit polls.”
Alt-right leaders and groups, including Neo-Nazi leader Andrew Anglin, TheRightStuff.biz website and the Oath Keepers, a militia movement, are planning to organize “poll watchers” across the United States, according to a recent report by Politico. These ambitions are fueled by support for the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who has repeatedly called the election “rigged” while implying voter fraud is an issue. Some individuals, according to Politico, say they are working through the Trump campaign, while others are collaborating with separate groups like the National Socialist Movement.
In Philadelphia, groups are declaring they’ll hand out “liquor and marijuana in the city’s ‘ghetto’ on Election Day to induce residents to stay home,” Politico writes. (Non-medical marijuana remains illegal in Philadelphia.)
Per the Politico story:
“We also have some teams going into the ghettos in Philly with 40s and weed to give out to the local residents, which we think will lead to more of them staying home. We have had success with this in the past,” wrote the representative of TheRightStuff.biz, who said four teams of two employed this tactic in Detroit during the Democratic primary in an effort to help Bernie Sanders. “40s” are 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor. POLITICO could not independently verify his claims.
While some of these plans may be exaggerations, according to Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, he did tell Politico, “The possibility of violence on or around Election Day is very real,” especially if people like the Oath Keepers show up heavily armed, which they often do. Still, voters may not succumb to these pressures.
“If on the morning of Election Day it turns out that we have [W]hite supremacists standing around looking threatening at polling places, I think it would arouse anger,” he told Politico. “People would vote just to prove they’re not being intimidated by these radical racists.”
Earlier this week, the Democratic Party filed lawsuits alleging that the Trump campaign and Republican Party are “conspiring to threaten, intimidate and thereby prevent minority voters in urban neighborhoods from voting,” reported Democracy Now! The suits are filed under the Voting Rights Act and the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act. Official Ku Klux Klan newspaper, The Crusader, recently released its Fall 2016 edition where it published a full front-page article in support of Trump.