Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Progressive Groups Are Mobilizing to De-Escalate Far Right Violence at the Polls

The New Black Panthers were accused of this some years back.

By Ella Fassler, Truthout

In preparation for potential voter intimidation this year, the Women’s March, Working Families Party, Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, United We Dream and other organizations are mobilizing “election defenders” to de-escalate tense situations as well as provide voters with personal protective equipment and water on Election Day.

“So far, more than 6,000 people across the country have signed up to be election defenders,” Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell told Truthout. “Trump is operating from a place of weakness, not strength, and the single best way to avoid a contested election is for voters to repudiate him at the polls by an overwhelming margin. And if Trump still tries to steal the election, you can expect us to raise our voices like never before.”

Grace Aheron, communications director of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), told Truthout that the election defenders who signed up through her organization are now “coordinating teams in their cities and counties across the country to protect the integrity of our election.”

Mobilization efforts are likely to ramp up following Trump’s call-to-action during the first presidential debate on Tuesday. “I’m urging my supporters to go in to the polls and watch very carefully, because that’s what has to happen,” he said at the debate. “I am urging them to do it.” In addition Trump told the far right paramilitary group the Proud Boys, who have said on tape “Hitler did nothing wrong,” to “stand back and stand by.”

Already, roughly 20 Trump supporters had descended on a polling booth in Fairfax, Virginia, intimidating early voters and election staff. The demonstrators gathered from a “Trump Train” parade, according to The New York Times; some chanting “Four more years, four more years!” and holding Trump flags, while others drove circles around the voters. Election officials provided escorts for voters and moved the line indoors.


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