Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Election Integrity Groups Gear Up

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Election Integrity Groups Gear Up

Article excerpt

As Democrats and Republicans square off over accusations of potential voter intimidation, election-integrity groups are preparing for what may be a contentious Election Day.

U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond, an appointee of President George W. Bush, has scheduled a hearing this morning in Philadelphia over a lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania Democrats last week. The suit alleges that under the guise of watching activity at polls, presidential nominee Donald Trump and other Republicans are engaging in a "conspiracy to harass and threaten voters." It asks for a restraining order to bar intimidation and harassment.

In August, Mr. Trump called on supporters to "go down in certain areas" and "make sure people don't .... vote five times." Democratic lawyers argue such statements "exhorted his supporters to [act] as roving bands of vigilante, uncredentialed poll watchers," predominantly in "Democratic-leaning, largely minority communities."

Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states. Judges in Nevada and Arizona rejected the requests. In Ohio, a judge granted Democrats an injunction, but it was overturned by a federal appeals court Sunday, according to cleveland.com.

According to court documents, Democrats plan to call a Philadelphia pastor and onetime city councilman as witnesses, and perhaps the heads of both statewide parties. They will also seek to call Roger Stone, a Trump ally whose poll-watching effort, Stop the Steal, is at the heart of the case.

In a filing Friday, state Republicans called the suit "a political stunt" that "cobble[s] together ... miscellaneous public statements, vague innuendo, rank speculation, and over-the-top rhetoric."

GOP filings argue that Stop the Steal is "completely independent from the [party] and the [Trump] Campaign," which "have no knowledge of Mr. Stone and Stop the Steal's activities." And it's not clear how extensive those activities will prove to be.

As of Sunday, its website reported 177 people signing up as "exit pollers." But numerous comments posted on the site express confusion about how to participate, and a Nov. …

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