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Donald Trump Is Now Threatening to Send Law Enforcement to Polling Places on Election Day

Donald Trump speaks at a press briefing in the White House.

Donald Trump escalated his attacks on mail-in voting and voting in general by saying he plans to send law enforcement to monitor polling places.

“We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have, hopefully, US attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals. But it’s very hard,” he told Sean Hannity during a call-in interview that ran during the last night of the Democratic National Convention.

First of all, it’s not clear if Trump has the power to do that. But that’s not the point. The point is that the fear of law enforcement’s possible presence at polling places–or their strategically placed presence at some polling places–is meant to keep voters away, especially BIPOC voters, immigrants/naturalized citizens, and others who might have reason to be wary of police.

The comment was in response to Hannity’s question of whether Trump was planning to have “poll watchers” to “monitor” elections to prevent fraud–a thing that already exists. Poll workers are nonpartisan volunteers with volunteer captains tasked with overseeing the election process at each polling place in-person. There are also all sorts of state and local election authorities, the secretaries of state, and, you know, Congress.

Hannity suggested that these polling places needed monitoring to make sure the people voting are registered to do so, that they are casting “a real vote from a real American.”

Again, that already exists. Trump and other conservatives have long argued that voter ID laws (in which voters are required to show ID at the polls) are necessary, ignoring the fact that voter ID laws are (arguably) unconstitutional, that people in all states have to prove their identity to register to vote, and that the idea that people show up in states without voter ID laws and use others’ identities to cast multiple votes is a myth. It just doesn’t happen.

Trump went on to push a bunch more lies about mail-in voting, all based on the idea that Democrats are trying to rig the election by … encouraging people to vote. I don’t know when the Republican Party became the anti-voting party but it’s a really bad look.

(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.