Is The Voter Vigilante Group True The Vote Violating Ohio Law to Intimidate Voters at the Polls?
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“Clearly there are two problems here,” Rothenberg said. “Yes, the [Election Day] rules are the rules. But it is how you emphasize it and who is invited for the extra training and what angle they are trying to put on the training that matters. It sure seems to me that they are probably pushing more of the Republican poll workers to their extra trainings, and trying to use the poll worker training effort for partisan purposes.”
Ohio election officials should draw a firm line and reject the group’s efforts, he said.
“We are going to call on the Hamilton County Board of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State to ask anybody who has been hired by counties or by the state in a poll position that they not attend extra trainings, and that the folks that have gone to extra trainings be retrained so that there is uniformity in the way that they are told how to administer elections,” he said.
Regardless of how the poll worker training issue plays out, there is another factor that is troublesome to voting rights advocates. TrueTheVote’s focus on illegal voting tends to focus on communities of color where voters are from lower-income brackets, not the wealthier and whiter suburbs where Republicans are more likely to be found.
At their Colorado summit, organizers—including Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler—told the volunteers to be prepared to be attacked as racist for their so-called election integrity work. That charge is even more volatile in Ohio, where in 2004 many barriers to voting appeared in the state’s African-American urban centers.
ProgressOhio’s Rothenberg was asked if their voting vigilante strategy was racist.
“Call it what you want. It’s basically trying to game the system in a way that will help the candidates that they prefer,” he said. “In this case, it’s very clear that they have a goal of pursuing an agenda and that agenda doesn’t include an overwhelming amount of people of color and how they’re voting. No one single race votes the same way every single time. Clearly, because of the way that they are approaching this, their actions will have a disproportionate affect on the African-American population… It is what it is.”