President Donald Trump said he planned to send law enforcement and U.S. attorneys to polling places around the country to protect against his unfounded claims there will be mass voter fraud during the November election.
Trump made the comments on Fox News on Thursday night, his latest efforts to sow doubt ahead of an unprecedented election as millions of Americans plan to vote by mail due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Poll-watching is a standard part of elections, but Democrats have expressed concern about the scale at which the GOP plans to do so.
“We’re going to have everything,” the president told host Sean Hannity during the final night of the Democratic National Convention, just before Joe Biden accepted his party’s nomination. “We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have hopefully U.S. attorneys and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals.”
The president does not have the authority to send law enforcement to polling locations, CNN notes.
Trump made a bevy of false and disproven claims during the interview, saying states had “no idea” who they were sending voting forms to, alleging government officials may send the documents “to all Democrat areas” and not Republican strongholds and claiming people “don’t have to send [voting documents] back until after the election.”
“Nobody’s ever heard of anything like this,” he told Hannity.
All of his claims are untrue and build on Trump’s recent effort to undermine the election. At least three-quarters of registered American voters are eligible to receive a ballot by mail this election, including 44 million people who will be sent ballots directly in states like California and New Jersey. Most others have to request absentee ballots, and while many don’t need a reason, some 46 million people will need an excuse to do so.
Despite the unprecedented number of mail-in votes likely to be sent during the election, all forms of voter fraud are rare, studies have shown.
Still, the GOP is recruiting some 50,000 poll watchers across more than a dozen battleground states to prevent the claimed fraud, an effort that has prompted Democrats to accuse Republicans of an attempt to suppress votes in those areas.
“I will fight Republican voter suppression in the court room and the public square every single day until @JoeBiden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States,” Marc Elias, the Democratic Party’s top election lawyer, wrote on Twitter.