World News – US – Here’s what people watching you vote can and can’t do on polling day


A lonely resident of Flint votes Tuesday August 4, 2020 at Mott Community College in Flint (Jake May | MLivecom) Jake May | Mlivecom

But others volunteer in large numbers to be there for hours on Tuesday November 3 – not as official workers, but as poll observers and challengers

Michigan law allows people affiliated with political parties or groups to register with their clerk to be a contender in the ballot and all citizens are allowed to appear without warning and be observers in a designated space The law is not new, but there is a new zeal for the roles this year

« The level of enthusiasm is very high People are really interested, » said Kate Mason, the election protection coordinator for the nonprofit Michigan United

Michigan United has welcomed nearly 200 people – many of whom are lawyers – to volunteer to be challengers or observers for Tuesday’s election It’s much higher than 2016, Mason said

President Donald Trump has questioned the integrity of the elections in recent weeks, pushing Republicans and Democrats to want to keep an extra eye on the polls.Among other mentions, Trump tweeted a link to Armyfortrumpcom several times, in encouraging supporters to register to observe the polls

The Michigan Republican Party is also recruiting such volunteers.There is a large group of volunteers who will be spread across the Democratic and Republican areas, spokesman Tony Zammit said, but he will not say how many they send to the polls. , saying: « We do not get our hands on this »

Observers can show up at will, so there is no count of the potential number Challengers only need permission from local clerks – so state officials don’t have an account on the number

« We are ready for anything, but we expect a smooth and successful election, » said spokeswoman Abby Rubley

There is a list of rules that observers and challengers must follow, including where they must stand and what they can do

“Observer or challenger, there is no circumstance in which they speak directly to a voter,” Secretary of State spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer said. “So if anyone approaches ‘a voter and say, « Hey, I’m a ballot candidate, I don’t think you can vote » or « You don’t have the right to vote, come home », that’s intimidation voters They don’t have the right to do this And it should be reported « 

Challengers are allowed to stand behind the treatment table and challenge procedures that break the law.But even if they challenge a person’s right to vote, they are not allowed to speak directly to the voter

« They must have a good reason to contest a vote. You can’t contest willy-nilly, » said SOS spokesperson Jake Rollow « You cannot challenge due to limited fluency in English, race, ethnicity or something like that. Typically challenges would be placed based on the information the challenger has established even before arriving at the polling station, based on researching specific voters who, in their opinion, are not eligible »

A graphic from the Secretary of State’s office shows what observers and challengers can and cannot do

Originally, the state said challengers could not get within 6 feet of polling officers because of COVID-19, but changed its position to allow this if necessary after a trial last week Masks are mandatory for challengers and observers

« Well done, (challengers and observers are) a great thing that we want to protect and make sure it can happen, » said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson « As long as they don’t cross the line to be disruptive, intimidating voters – which is illegal – or threatening voters »

In this politically charged climate, Mason said she was training workers not to escalate conflicts, to step back in imminent danger and to intervene politely on issues, if necessary

« Voter suppression happens whether there is malicious intent or not, » Mason said « A lot of things can just be people who don’t fully understand the rules »

“We make it very clear to volunteers that they must be respectful and polite and are not there to be intimidating,” said Gustafson “The poll monitoring program is designed to ensure that no legally eligible voter is disenfranchised, that all votes are compiled accurately and legally, and voters are not confused about laws and procedures It’s about getting more people to vote, not less « 

Some city clerks also send their own employees as extra eyes For example, Pontiac City Clerk Garland Doyle has installed « location monitors » outside of all polling stations in the city to monitor voter intimidation

“They’ll make sure no one feels intimidated or turned away from the ballot box,” said Doyle “Normally all the polling officers are inside the building, so you never really know what’s going on. goes outside « 

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Michigan, Jocelyn Benson, Election Day

News from around the world – US – Here’s what the people watching you vote can and can’t do on election day


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