As Democrats continued to stress the importance of voting rights on the final night of their 2020 convention, President Donald Trump called in to Fox News and threatened to intimidate voters by sending law-enforcement officers to polling places on Election Day.
“We’re going to have everything,” Trump told host Sean Hannity on Thursday night during a phone interview. “We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to hopefully have U.S. Attorneys and everybody — attorney generals.”
CNN reports: Trump has no authority to deploy local law enforcement officials to monitor elections, although his campaign could hire off-duty police to work the polls, said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California at Irvine.If Trump did so, it likely would trigger legal action from Democrats, who would claim the move amounted to a voter-suppression tactic. And it would have echoes of a case that resulted in a federal court decree that for decades sharply restricted the Republican National Committee’s “ballot security” work without prior judicial approval.The 1982 decree arose from a Democratic National Committee lawsuit that accused the RNC of trying to suppress votes in New Jersey by, among other things, posting armed, off-duty police officers at the polls in Black and Latino neighborhoods. The decree expired in 2018, and this election marks the first presidential contest since 1980 that the GOP presidential nominee and the RNC will work together on poll-watching.
More from Mother Jones: While Democrats spent the final night of the Democratic National Convention calling for equal access to the right to vote, President Trump was on the phone with Sean Hannity, perpetuating the myth of voter fraud and threatening to send law enforcement to the polls. … Around the same time Trump was on Hannity, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was delivering a tribute to the late civil rights icon John Lewis at the DNC. “There are those who are disgracefully using this pandemic to spread misinformation and interfere with voting,” she said, “forcing many in 2020 to still risk their lives to exercise their sacred right to vote, a right that has already been paid for with the blood, sweat, tears, and lives of so many. So let’s stand up for our children, our children’s children, and for this great democracy that our ancestors worked to build, and let’s vote.”
Vice adds: After this bit of voter intimidation, Trump then launched into a bizarre rant against vote-by-mail. … The Democrats are gearing up for an autumn full of attacks from the Trump campaign on absentee voting. During the last night of the Democratic National Convention, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the top election officials in states that have been singled out by Trump over their mail voting preparations, made a joint appearance in a pre-recorded video to encourage vote-by-mail. Padilla said Trump’s attacks on vote-by-mail were meant to “distract and confuse” potential voters. “Let’s be clear: There is absolutely zero difference between voting by mail and voting absentee,” Benson said. “Millions of Americans have been voting absentee for decades. Donald Trump, his family, his staff — they all vote by mail.”
A few reactions from Twitter below.