It's not in the best interests of the GOP for all of eligible voters to cast ballots. We know that, and we are going to see what lengths they'll go to this year to try to raise suspicions about the electoral process and the legitimacy of the results. Unless, of course, they win.
In that vein, the Rochester Democrat recently had a story about an email sent out by the campaign of Erik Paulsen, candidate for Minnesota's Third Congressional District. In the email, the campaign is recruiting poll watchers… but not to help people vote:
Your job is three fold: observe, deter, challenge. 1) You are there to observe the general goings on at the poll and assist the Election Judges as another set of eyes and ears that can watch for misconduct at the polls. 2) You are there to deter ineligible voters from voting. Plain and simple, your presence in the polling place while not deterring everyone who wants to commit voter fraud will stop at least some people. 3) You are there to challenge voters who may be ineligible. Through the one-hour training session, I will teach you about the situations where you may be in position to challenge a voter as ineligible. (Emphasis ours)
That’s right, Observe, deter, and challenge. Not help. Not assist. Not assure voting rights for all Minnesotans, but to take whatever steps can be taken to deter voters and challenge voters.
This is about at clear a signal as I've seen that the Minnesota Republican Party (which is the only organization that can appoint GOP poll watchers – Paulsen's campaign can't) is planning on mounting frivolous challenges and trying to gum up the system and make lines long, all in a coordinated attempt to intimidate citizens and deter voting.
Four years ago, we watched as the Minnesota Republican Party shipped in out-of-state poll challengers who stood inside polls on reservations, challenging voters because they "didn’t look like Americans." We saw GOP appointed challengers stand up and challenge every voter in line at one precinct claiming that each and every one of them "looked mentally deficient." Precincts where students voted were especially hard hit, where challengers did whatever they could to repeatedly raise unfounded reasons to try to keep them from voting.
Laws have changed since then, but it's clear that Republicans haven't abandoned their old tricks. Erik Paulsen's email to supporters demonstrates a shocking level of fear of the very people he says he wants to represent in Congress.
Why does Eric Paulsen hate America?