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G.O.P. Seeks to Empower Poll Watchers, Raising Intimidation Worries

Added 05-01-21 05:40:03am EST - “Republicans in several states are pushing bills to give poll watchers more autonomy. Alarmed election officials and voting rights activists say it's a new attempt to target voters of color.” - Nytimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Nytimes.com: “G.O.P. Seeks to Empower Poll Watchers, Raising Intimidation Worries”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Republicans in several states are pushing bills to give poll watchers more autonomy. Alarmed election officials and voting rights activists say it’s a new attempt to target voters of color.

HOUSTON — The red dot of a laser pointer circled downtown Houston on a map during a virtual training of poll watchers by the Harris County Republican Party. It highlighted densely populated, largely Black, Latino and Asian neighborhoods.

“This is where the fraud is occurring,” a county Republican official said falsely in a leaked video of the training, which was held in March. A precinct chair in the northeastern, largely white suburbs of Houston, he said he was trying to recruit people from his area “to have the confidence and courage” to act as poll watchers in the circled areas in upcoming elections.

A question at the bottom corner of the slide indicated just how many poll watchers the party wanted to mobilize: “Can we build a 10K Election Integrity Brigade?”

As Republican lawmakers in major battleground states seek to make voting harder and more confusing through a web of new election laws, they are simultaneously making a concerted legislative push to grant more autonomy and access to partisan poll watchers — citizens trained by a campaign or a party and authorized by local election officials to observe the electoral process.

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