“One of the major concerns about poll watching is that it will still lead, intentionally or not, to voter intimidation,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, the deputy director of voting rights and election programs at the Brennan Center for Justice.
“An ‘army’ doesn’t sound like people just there to observe,” Morales-Doyle said. “An army sounds like people there to engage in war with the enemy.”
Responding to that concern in a statement Sunday to ABC News, Clark pushed back: “This isn’t about intimidation but about transparency in the election process. Anything to the contrary is just demagoguery.”
Trump campaign officials said they view poll watchers as critical to ensuring the fairness of the election, a point the president tried to drive home during the first presidential debate. Trump referenced his plans to mobilize his supporters to monitor the polls, saying he is “urging my supporters to go in to the polls and watch very carefully.”
“You know why? Because bad things happen,” he said.
Richard Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine Law School, said in a recent interview with Slate that he grew more concerned about voter intimidation when the president in the same debate refused to condemn a hard-right group known for violent confrontations.
“He’s talking about sending poll watchers to places. When he says that in a debate at the same time he’s talking about the Proud Boys standing by, it’s very worrisome,” Hasen said.