- Title: Philadelphia voters defy Trump’s call for supporters to monitor polls
- Date: 7th November 2016
- Summary: VARIOUS OF POSTER WITH OBAMA AND CLINTONS
- Embargoed: 22nd November 2016 19:53
- Keywords: Trump campaign Hillary Clinton Clinton campaign elections voting Trump poll watchers voter intimidation Philadelphia
- Location: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYVLANIA, UNITED STATES
- City: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYVLANIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00257G6JIF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Voters in Philadelphia overwhelmingly rejected Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call for his supporters to go to the polls on Tuesday (November 3) to watch and act as unofficial election observers.
Trump has repeatedly said Tuesday's presidential election may be rigged, while providing scant evidence, and has urged supporters to keep an eye out for signs of voting fraud in Philadelphia and other heavily Democratic areas.
Andre Kersey, 28, a community organizer and write-in candidate for the state's second congressional district, said Trump's call to observe was nonsense.
"I feel like it's an intimidation on his part. I feel like he has no right to have those come out on his behalf to intimidate what is a free and given right to the citizens of Philadelphia. I think it's a bunch of nonsense and I think the people of Philadelphia should without fear, without care, vote for who it is they want to vote for and to continue on," Kersey said.
Democrats worry Trump's call could encourage his supporters to harass minority voters in a state that could determine whether Trump or his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, wins the presidency. Voting-rights advocates said they are already receiving reports of harassment.
Charles Nichols, 56, a computer technician living in North Philadelphia, said Trump supporters would be making a mistake to come harass voters.
"Well, like I said before, they might want to wear bulletproof vests. It could get a little crazy because we ain't no Trump supporters around here because, number one, the man is crazy with a capital k and another two K's, he knows what I'm talking about," Nichols said.
Democrats have launched a legal blitz of their own in an attempt to shut down Trump's poll-watching efforts in Pennsylvania and three other battleground states, arguing in lawsuits that Republican monitoring efforts amount to "vigilante voter intimidation" that violates federal law. They filed a fourth lawsuit in North Carolina on Thursday (November 3).
The RNC has said in legal motions that it is not involved in poll watching, which would violate a long-standing court order. State parties have argued that they are engaged in legitimate efforts to make sure the election is conducted accurately, while Trump's vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, and his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said they misspoke when they told media outlets that the campaign was working with the RNC on poll-watching efforts.
In Pennsylvania, Trump's poll-monitoring plan faces a significant hurdle because state law requires partisan poll watchers to perform their duties in the county in which they are registered to vote.
That could make it difficult to recruit monitors in places like Philadelphia, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of eight to one. The city has 120,000 registered Republicans and 1,685 voting locations.
The Pennsylvania Republican Party sought to suspend that requirement so that poll monitors could come from anywhere in the state, which would enable them to bring in supporters from suburban and rural areas where Trump has stronger support.
Tomasina Calderon, 38, a dental assistant living in northeast Philadelphia, called Trump's call for poll monitors unnecessary.
"For someone to watch me make sure i don't do something that I shouldn't be doing and that I have done years and years over, I think it is a little overkill and a little unnecessary, hopefully it won't escalate, but people may feel the same way but maybe be a little more aggressive about it as far as people being in their business. I hope it doesn't escalate, I'm not going to make a big deal out of it if anything happens and just go cast my vote and call it a day," Calderon said.
With only one day left before Election Day, the Clinton campaign was boosted by Sunday's (November 6) unexpected announcement by FBI Director James Comey that the agency stood by its July decision not to press any criminal charges in an investigation of Clinton's email practices.
The latest opinion polls showed former Secretary of State Clinton ahead. A Fox News poll showed her leading Trump, a wealthy New York real estate developer, by 4 percentage points among likely voters. Clinton also held a 4-point lead in an ABC/Washington Post poll and a CBS news poll released on Monday (November 7).
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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