Group Promises To Target Voter Intimidation On Election Day
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Aired 10/25/12 on KPBS News.
Common Cause sets up a command center to prevent something they see as a big problem: Voter intimidation by organized groups.
The group Common Cause has rallied lawyers and volunteers to watch out for voter intimidation in San Diego during the November election. They said it's a response to organized efforts by groups who say they want to target voter fraud.
Common Cause members say a number of nationwide organizations are sending people to the polls to question voter qualifications. Common Cause describes it as an organized effort to intimidate young and inexperienced voters, and they further claim voter intimidation was a problem in San Diego's June primary.
Simon Mayeski, of Common Cause, said their local command center will be ready to respond to intimidation on election day.
"We have approximately 100 attorneys. We hope to have 50 volunteers, who will be standing by to deal with any problems or questions," said Mayeski, who added that his volunteers are prepared to confront people they believe are intimidating voters at polling places.
Mayeski said groups accused of intimidating voters will typically challenge poll workers on minor technicalities and disrupt voter efforts in loud voices. Mayeski specifically named the Election Integrity Project, which had a presence in June at San Diego polling places.
Ruth Weiss is the San Diego County coordinator of the Election Integrity Project, whose mission is to watch for voter fraud. She said they are out to observe, not to intimidate.
"We observed in June, and there were no concerns that these other groups are bringing up then, and there won't be in November either," she said.
An official at the San Diego Registrar of Voters office said some poll workers complained during the June primary about the Voter Integrity Project. But no voters complained of being intimidated. Common Cause has set up a hotline for people to call if they believe they see voter intimidation.