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Trump campaign ready to unleash thousands of poll watchers on Election Day

by ALEX ISENSTADT and NATASHA KORECKI 10/08/2020 07:55 PM EDT Facebook Twitter Link | Story Source    Friday October 9, 2020 - 7:26 AM
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Trump campaign ready to unleash thousands of poll watchers on Election Day
he mood was pure jubilation at Trump Tower as returns trickled in on election night 2016. But a few of the candidate's senior aides weren't quite ready to join the party.

As they gathered on the fifth floor, Trump political advisers including Bill Stepien, Justin Clark and Mike Roman realized that the margins were small enough in several states to potentially trigger a prolonged battle that would play out in vote counting rooms and recounts. With the GOP hamstrung by a decades-old legal ruling that limited its ability to engage in vote monitoring, the Trump team feared that Democrats would flood canvassing sites, challenge Republican-cast ballots, and tip the election.

Trump's lead would remain intact, of course, but in the years since his political team set out to ensure they wouldn't face a similar scenario in 2020. With the lifting of a decades-old consent decree, the Republican National Committee is now free to engage in poll watching. To that end, the campaign has established what it says is a 50,000-plus army of volunteer observers across an array of battleground states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where operations are already underway.

Poll watchers monitor everything from voting machines to the processing of ballots to checking voter identification. They are not permitted to interact directly with voters but, depending on local regulations, they can relay problems to ...

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