Authorities Probe Wide Range of Voter Suppression Moves
This year’s historic voter turnout has been challenged by a wide range of tactics to suppress voters, particularly in communities of color, reports USA Today. In St. Petersburg, Fl., two people dressed as armed security guards were reported outside an early voting site last week. The man and woman told police they were hired by President Donald Trump’s campaign, an allegation the campaign denied. Trevor Mallory, a Democratic candidate for Pinellas County property appraiser, said, “No one should have to encounter an armed guard that is not with the sheriff’s department or an official police department employee.” Law enforcement officials said the people were licensed security guards and they were not violating any laws.
Elsewhere, a Michigan judge struck down Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s directive that banned the open carry of firearms at polling places. Gun rights activists filed suit claiming Benson’s order made “an unsupported correlation between mere possession of a firearm and voter intimidation.” Benson is appealing the ruling. Some polling places are attempting to reject voters wearing Black Lives Matter shirts. A poll worker in Memphis was fired for turning voters away who were wearing masks and T-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter.” In Cummings, Ga. a man recorded a video of a poll worker telling to take off his Black Lives Matter shirt to vote. This month, two conservative operatives were charged with making false robocalls telling residents in majority-Black Detroit that if they voted by mail, they could face debt collection and forced vaccination. People in New York, Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania received similar calls. Drop boxes making it easier for voters to submit mail-in ballots have been a source of voter suppression. Both California and Boston have seen ballot drop boxes set on fire this month, destroying dozens of ballots.