There has been a great deal of concern that Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail would lead to voter intimidation at the polls. He has repeatedly cited debunked myths of rigged elections and voter fraud, to stir up the base and encourage them to go into certain areas and monitor the election process.
He has blatantly told his supporters they need to be on the lookout for illegal voting, or risk losing the election.
“Voter fraud is all too common, and then they criticize us for saying that,” he said at a rally Tuesday in Colorado Springs. “But take a look at Philadelphia, what’s been going on, take a look at Chicago, take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at some of these cities, where you see things happening that are horrendous. I hear these horror shows, and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us,” he said last week to a nearly all-white crowd in northeast Pennsylvania. “And everybody knows what I’m talking about.” Mr. Trump told supporters that it was “so important that you watch other communities, because we don’t want this election stolen from us.” (Source)
The Trump campaign has gone so far as to have a sign up form on the official website to be a poll watcher and “help me stop Crooked Hillary from rigging this election.” However, in most states poll watchers are legally required to be registered with the county or voting precinct.
One of the top Trump supporters, Roger Stone, runs a group called Stop the Steal, which is intended to prevent election fraud. In an email to Mother Jones, Stone explained that Stop the Steal and another group intend to conduct a “neutral, scientifically based EXIT POLL [sic] in order to compare the actual machine results with the exit poll results in 7000 key precincts. Precincts are chosen base [sic] on one party rule and past reports of irregularities—not racial make-up as falsely reported in the alt-left media.”
Stone’s organization had on its website official-looking ID badges for the poll-watching volunteers to wear, and its volunteers planned to videotape voters and conduct fake “exit polls,” efforts that election experts say risks intimidating and confusing voters.
The Huffington Post did a test of Stone’s web-based poll-watching:
Reached for comment on Tuesday, Stone told HuffPost he was “working with StopTheSteal.com to conduct exit polls for the purpose of comparing the results to the actual reported results on a precinct by precinct basis.” He noted that this effort “is independent of the Trump campaign,” adding, “I don’t know what their election day plans are.”
When HuffPost asked Stone specifically about the badges and the videotaping, however, he became defensive. “I know nothing about badges or videotaping,” he wrote, adding, “Where do you get this from?”
Even before Stone responded to them, the information regarding badges and videotaping was removed from his website.
All of this led to the Democratic Party in six states to file lawsuits in federal court against Roger Stone, his PAC, the Trump campaign, and the state GOP for “conspiring to intimidate minority voters in urban areas to discourage them from casting ballots.”
The first ruling to come down was in Ohio:
A federal judge in Cleveland has issued a temporary restraining order against the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and a Republican political operative aimed at preventing Trump supporters from harassing or intimidating Ohio voters during thes election. U.S. District Judge James Gwin ruled Friday in a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Democratic Party that anyone who engages in intimidation or harassment inside or near Ohio polling places, regardless of political alliance, would face contempt of court charges. (Source)
Cases are still outstanding in New Jersey, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.