Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
In response to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s baseless claims that there is “large-scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” Univision pointed out the intimidating and deterring effect the claims could have on minority voters.
In an October 12 article, Univision reported that Donald Trump is galvanizing his supporters to sign up as “observers” at polling locations on election day in order to fight back against what he calls “large-scale voter fraud.” The claims contradict extensive evidence that demonstrates in-person voter fraud is virtually non-existent. Univision spoke to Latino electorate experts who pointed out that the presence of “observers” at polling locations “intimidates” and suppresses minority voters. Univision highlighted concerns from Hispanic groups about “tactics like these” because they “generate a hostile environment,” especially for first-time voters and pointed out that “Trump’s words graze a dangerous line between legal and illegal.”
While this line of attack was initially propagated by right-wing media -- which continue to assist Trump in pushing these false claims -- Univision joins others in condemning these statements as “bogus” and “irresponsible.” Translated from the Univision article:
Donald Trump has started to spread a new message to his followers: vote and then go to “other communities” to make sure “that no one robs the election from our hands.” Hispanic leaders fear that the mogul’s politics of fear might damage voter turnout.
Even in the campaign’s website, people can sign up to be observers of the elections.
From long experience, Hispanic leaders know that this type of tactics intimidate minority voters.
“We have seen similar strategies before, where they assign people to observe, who basically scare Hispanics and tell them off. Even when they don’t say anything, their presence and the way they dress intimidates,” explained Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO.
Vargas insisted that tactics like this “generate a hostile environment, especially for people who are voting for the first time and that’s why it’s important for those participating to know their rights.”
The director of NALEO also insisted that it’s necessary for the Department of Justic to place the largest possible amount of observers in polling places.
Trump’s words graze a dangerous line between legal and illegal.
In 1982 a decree was issued based on multiple complaints about the intimidation of minority voters between 1970 and 1980.
The decree specified that the Republican party should not carry out any security activity in voting locations where the ethnic and racial composition is a factor to decide to monitor these areas.
The order expires in 2017 and can be renewed by the Supreme Court.