The U.S. appeals court in Ohio removed new restrictions on partisan poll watchers that Democrats had sought to prevent Election Day voter intimidation. The rules overturned by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals would have imposed greater penalties on people who harass voters during Tuesday’s election.
While that high voter turnout pattern appears to favor Hillary Clinton, suppression tactics from Republicans and local intimidation antics by Donald Trump supporters are still unfolding, adding angst and muddying the election’s last phase.
In lawsuits filed in federal courts in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and Ohio, Democrats argued that Trump and Republican Party officials were mounting a “campaign of vigilante voter intimidation” that violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act and an 1871 law aimed at the Ku Klux Klan.
Election experts say that the plan by Roger Stone to unleash hundreds of untrained “exit poll” watchers in search of vote theft on Election Day risks intimidating voters in the targeted communities. They also explain that unprofessional exit polling is a nonsensical way to discover alleged voter fraud and vote rigging, which is “extremely rare” in the first place.