ON ELECTION DAY in November, some polling places could be patrolled by off-duty police officers and veterans, according to a plan hatched by Republican operatives.
The idea is a reprisal of once-illegal Election Day “ballot security” intimidation tactics, intended to challenge voter registration and remove voters from the rolls. At a strategy session in February attended by conservative donors and activists, several people expressed a specific need for Republican poll watchers in “inner city” and predominantly Native American precincts, according to audio recordings of the event obtained by The Intercept and Documented.
“You get some [Navy] Seals in those polls and they’re going to say, ‘No, no, this is what it says. This is how we’re going to play this show,’” said Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, a group that lobbies for voting restrictions and organizes volunteers to go into precincts and aggressively challenge voters who they believe are improperly registered. “That’s what we need. We need people who are unafraid to call it like they see it.”
The election strategy discussions occurred during a three-day conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Orange County, California, and was sponsored by the Council for National Policy, a secretive foundation on the religious right. The Intercept has previously reported from CNP gatherings.
Conservative Operatives Float Plan to Place Retired Military, Police Officers as GOP Poll Watchers on Election Day
At a February meeting, GOP-aligned leaders expressed a need for Republican poll watchers in “inner city” and predominantly Native American precincts.