Democratic officials in four battleground states are seeking a federal injunction against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and his allies for their alleged plans to intimidate minority voters at the polls come Election Day.
The lawsuits, filed by state Democratic parties in Arizona, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, argue that the Trump campaign and state Republican party officials are “conspiring to threaten, intimidate, and thereby prevent minority voters in urban neighborhoods from voting,” the Guardian reports.
The suit also mentioned Trump’s continued efforts to recruit Election Day “poll watchers” to scope out persons who might commit voter fraud.
Over the last few months, the GOP candidate’s inflammatory claims of a “rigged election” and warnings of a constitutional crisis have prompted close conservative confidantes like Roger Stone to propose conducting “exit polling” in nine states across the country. Stone said the unorthodox practice would only reduce chances of voter theft, but election law experts suspect the process could be a smokescreen for voter intimidation.
According to the Guardian, the Democrats’ suit goes on to assert that such “exit polling” efforts, along with Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, could also be in violation of both the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 — which outlawed the intimidation of African-American voters.
“We seek only to determine if the election is honestly and fairly conducted and to provide an evidentiary basis for a challenge to the election if that is not the case,” Stone said of the poll watching and proposed exit polling. “I assume the purpose of this bogus lawsuit is to distract from the voter fraud the Democrats have traditionally engaged in.”
Democrats still aren’t taking the bait, though.
Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Tameron told CBS News the party is concerned that Trump’s “rogue actors” will scare away voters at the polls. The Arizona lawsuit echoed similar worries, claiming that supporters of the state Republican Party were organizing “poll watchers” to flood minority-heavy voting sites on Nov. 8. Arizona GOP spokesman Tim Sifert has since denied the claims, the news site reports.
The lawsuit filed in Nevada took it a step further by citing instances when Trump supporters screamed at voters outside Las Vegas-area polling places when they said they weren’t voting for the GOP candidate, according to CBS News. Democrats have requested that the courts deem aggressive questioning of persons waiting in line to vote and/or threats of criminal action illegal.
The request came soon after a federal judge ordered the Republican National Committee to fess up about an alleged pact with the Trump campaign to scare off minority voters. Politico reports that U.S. District Court Judge John Vazquez gave the RNC until 5 p.m. Tuesday to come clean about working with Trump’s allies to ensure what Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence called “ballot integrity.”
Vazquez’s order called on the RNC to turn in “[a]ll agreements in any form between Defendant and the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (the ‘Trump Campaign’) regarding voter fraud, ballot security, ballot integrity, poll watching, or poll monitoring.”
“The affidavit(s) shall set forth all material terms of any such agreement, including any geographic areas which are being targeted for the voter fraud, ballot security, ballot integrity, poll watching, or poll monitoring efforts and the reason(s) those areas are being targeted,” the order read.
The Trump campaign has yet to issue a response to the recent lawsuits.