Before the US presidential election, 2020 is less than a month away, but the United States is at risk of facing a “chaotic election day.” This “chaos” can be provoked by the actions of US President Donald Trump, who urged his supporters “to go to the polls and observe the voting process very closely,” writes Bloomberg…
Such a “proposal” by Donald Trump can be seen as a call for more active participation in the long-established practice of observing elections, or as a call for his supporters to organize noisy rallies outside the polling stations.
Regardless of the president’s intentions, election officials must prepare carefully for election day. Without appropriate action, a “large mobilization” of overly determined Trump supporters could disrupt polling stations and undermine credibility in the elections itself.
The first priority for the state is to comply with the norms for the supervision of the voting process. In most American states, political parties are allowed to appoint the same number of representatives to observe the vote because they can report violations and verify the accuracy of the results. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but in most cases, observers must be registered with the state where they work.
Most states limit the number of political party observers. Some polling stations require observers to wear special badges that prove their identity and show political affiliation.
Observers do not usually “intimidate” voters. However, there is reason to believe that this year some observers during the US vote may be “less reserved.”
In 2018, a federal court overturned an order prohibiting observers from using “safe voting” tactics, such as carrying weapons inside polling stations, which could intimidate voters. Such a court order was prompted by the situation in the state of New Jersey in 1981 during the governor’s election when the Republican National Committee sent freelance police officers to monitor polling stations.
Now that the restrictions have been lifted, Republicans have begun recruiting 50,000 volunteers to serve as election observers in the states.
Trump announced in August that his campaign plans to involve “everyone,” including sheriffs, police, and US lawyers, to monitor polling places. Such statements may not correspond to reality, after all, Trump talked about such things in 2016, but states reported that the number of Republican observers did not increase.
However, the relaxation of observer restrictions, coupled with Trump’s allegations of potential falsification of the results, raised the prospect of “chaos” during election day, which could lead to long delays or even voter withdrawal from voting.
US polling stations must prepare for such disruptions now. Election observers must be certified and vetted. States that prohibit the use of firearms must insist that observers comply with the law.
State governors should also be prepared to deploy National Guards where large demonstrations may impede voters’ access to voting areas.
Trump has provided ample evidence that he intends to stay in power, even if it leads to “intimidation of voters”, the newspaper concludes.
There is little time left before the US presidential election.
Nationally, among potential voters, Biden has a 16% lead over Trump. Note that Biden in two opinion polls ahead of Trump at the national level by ten and eight percent, respectively.
FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Biden an 80% chance of winning the presidential race and Trump is only 20%. The model also gives a Democrat a 29% chance of a landslide victory — that is, winning a popular vote — by at least 10 percent.
Analysts of The Economist magazine believe that Biden’s chances of winning are much higher than the current head of state.
Interest in the elections rose to near-record levels. Nearly 6 out of 10 registered voters say they follow the elections “very closely.” This is more than any other presidential campaign at this time in the cycle since 2000.