EDITORIAL: Don’t use scare tactics to earn your votes
Federal Court’s decision may encourage voter intimidation
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s long-standing assertion that the election is “rigged” may have some truth to it, just not to his disadvantage. This Saturday, the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) appeal to charge the Republican National Committee (RNC) was turned down by Judge John Michael Vasquez of New Jersey. This motion was based upon the DNC’s assertion that Trump’s association with the RNC, combined with his comments on ensuring “ballot security,” went against a decree instated in 1982.
This decree was enacted more than three decades ago after the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial election in order to make sure that “ballot security activities” were not put into play by the RNC. In 1982 this decision came about after voters in minority communities were harassed at the ballot. But fast-forward to 2016 and it seems as though not much has changed.
The decision was made in favor of the RNC because the court ruled that it was questionable whether Trump can be considered a direct representative of the RNC, and whether actual activities of concern are being committed.
There should be concern. Not only is Trump constantly proclaiming that there is some sort of fraud being committed in the election, but he has taken it into his own hands to take action against it. On his campaign website, Trump has created a digital sign-up sheet for his voters to volunteer to become a “Trump Election Observer.” What is this exactly? Trump doesn’t give details on this unless you provide your personal information, however he headlines the form with “Help Me Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election.” The court says that this is not valid enough evidence to prove voter intimidation, but this is how the 1982 decree came about in the first place. The New Jersey Republican Party had called in volunteers who assembled as “an imposing yet unofficial ‘National Ballot Security Task Force.’” They policed Latino and black neighborhoods, blatantly intimidating people who wanted to vote opposing to their party. So isn’t this an obvious foretelling to what is to come this Tuesday now that the RNC has not been held to any offenses?
People may argue that Trump’s call to observation is a mere precaution that he feels is necessary due to Clinton’s “crooked” tactics. But is it just surveillance that he is asking his voters to take part in?
According to DNC’s lawsuit, Donald Trump said, “You’ve got to get everybody to go out and watch … and when (I) say ‘watch,’ you know what I’m talking about, right?” This is more than just a suggestion to see to the adhering of law. In fact, it is a borderline call to go against it. Whatever Trump intends by asking his voters to “watch” those in minority neighborhoods does not seem like it suggests anything positive. Trump’s voters have a history of using manipulation tactics to disturb the voting capabilities of his opposing candidate’s supporters. Last week attention was brought to manipulating posts on Twitter shared by users who had handles that announced their support of Trump. These posts encouraged voters to text in their votes for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and announced that these were ads paid for by Clinton herself. These posts were fraudulent. You cannot text in your vote.
Whether these attempts at disabling Clinton’s supporters from voters are signs of Trump’s and his supporter’s lack of confidence, or rather a true belief that the polls are “rigged,” one can not be sure. However, the tactics that are spurred from either of these possibilities should be halted. The Americans and their presidential candidates should trust in the system, rather than finding ways to take it into their own hands.
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