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Sun Nov 1, 2020, 10:16 AM

The Trump Campaign's Chaotic Closing Strategy


OCTOBER 31, 2020


. . . In the coming days, thousands of pro-Trump poll watchers are set to fan out across battleground states—smartphones in hand—and post themselves outside voting locations to hunt for evidence of fraud. This “army” has been coached on what to look for, and instructed to record anything that seems suspicious. The Trump campaign says these videos will be used in potential legal challenges; critics say their sole purpose is to intimidate voters. But in recent conversations with a range of unnerved Democrats and researchers, I was offered another scenario: If the president decides to contest the election’s results, his campaign could let loose a blizzard of misleading, decontextualized video clips as “proof” that the vote can’t be trusted.

“The goal here is really not producing evidence that stands up for any length of time,” Laura Quinn, a progressive researcher monitoring election disinformation, told me. “They’re interested in sowing just enough doubt … to develop this narrative of fraud—not only so that he can contest the election, not only so that he can refuse to concede a loss, but also so that some portion of his supporters will remain embittered and be able to say the results were illegitimate.” (A spokesperson for the Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on this story.)

Partisan poll-watching has a long history in American politics—Trump did not invent it. But this is the first presidential election since 1982 in which the Republican National Committee is allowed to organize such activities without permission from a federal court. For nearly four decades, the party was restricted by a consent decree issued after a New Jersey election in which Republicans allegedly hired off-duty police officers to patrol minority neighborhoods wearing “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands. The decree expired in 2018.

This history, combined with the president’s support among militias and other extremist groups, has fueled fears that the Army for Trump could lead to confrontation and even violence at the polls. In September, a noisy crowd of Trump supporters was accused of intimidating voters and disrupting an early-voting location in Fairfax, Virginia. (The Virginia Republican Party responded to these complaints on Twitter: “Quick! Someone call the waaaambulance!”)

But the poll watchers’ real influence may not be felt until they go home and start uploading their videos. Three Democratic strategists who are involved in post-election “scenario planning” told me that—barring a blowout on Election Night—Americans should expect a last-ditch disinformation blitz from Trump and his allies to create the impression of wide-scale cheating. (The Democrats requested anonymity to candidly describe strategy discussions.)

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Reply The Trump Campaign's Chaotic Closing Strategy (Original post)
swag Nov 2020 OP
Gothmog Nov 2020 #1
Laelth Nov 2020 #2
dalton99a Nov 2020 #3

Response to swag (Original post)

Sun Nov 1, 2020, 10:23 AM

1. The party is gearing up to fight this

I have been volunteering on voter protection effort for a very long time. I have been an election judge and have runned the voter protection war room. I have trained 100s of poll watchers for the 2012 and 2016 elections. I just took the course on elcection law for election workers and they covered a topic that I had never seen before. There is a handout that provides the law on what constitutes an unlawful militia This is from the course-Link to information on unlawful militias in Texas: https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/09/Texas.pdf

In Texas poll watchers are very limited in Texas and cannot talk to voters. Poll watchers have to be appointed by a party or a candidate and there are severe limitations on what a poll watcher can do. I had to deal with True the Vote poll watchers in 2012 and we ended up having no real issues. The presiding election judge can eject a poll watcher who violates the rules including trying to talk to a voter.

This course deals with some of the proposed tactics that may be used by trump supporters. The presiding election judge has the power to arrest persons who violate the election or penal code at a polling location which includes the area outside a polling location. Having firearms within a set distrance of a voting location can be stopped if the intent is to intimidate voters. Under Texas law, a riot can be 7 people who attempt to disrupt voting and it is illegal to obstruct access to polling location. We have never covered this topics in past election law seminars.

I am glad that we are preparing to deal with some of the tactics that are being discussed.


This is the DU member formerly known as Gothmog.

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 1, 2020, 10:56 AM

2. Thank you for all of that. Good to know.

Daughter and I will serve as election judges in Van Zandt county on Tuesday. We’re new, and we’re still learning.


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Response to Gothmog (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 1, 2020, 01:11 PM

3. +1

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