© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Where Does "Poll Watching" Become Voter Intimidation?

polling_place_2.jpg
Steve Brown
/
WOSU
People are barred from campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place. Beyond that, it can be hard to enforce the actions of people trying to sway voters.

Donald Trump has said the only way he can lose to Hillary Clinton is through a "rigged" election. He's been telling supporters to stand outside polling places to help identify voter fraud. But when can poll watching become illegal?

That depends on what exactly you mean by "poll watchers." The catch-all term can be confusing, says Camille Wimbish from the non-partisan Ohio Voter Rights Coalition.

“The first is what we call ‘poll observing.’ Those are people who are actually inside the polling location,” Wimbish says. “Those observers are not allowed to interact with voters.”

“Then there’s what people may be thinking of (with) ‘poll watching,'" says Wimbish. “Those people can theoretically do anything. They can talk to voters…”

But there are state and federal laws preventing them from intimidating voters and keeping them away from the polls.

To hear Wimbish’s conversation with WOSU’s Steve Brown, click the play button below.