© 2022
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

1A Remaking America: The poll watchers primed with disinformation

A sign reading "This Way To Vote" is displayed outside the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center in Wilson, Wyoming as Wyoming holds its Republican primary election.
A sign reading "This Way To Vote" is displayed outside the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center in Wilson, Wyoming as Wyoming holds its Republican primary election.

Elections officials across the country are reporting an increase in poll watchers and poll observers in the lead up to the midterms. But what happens when those keeping an eye on the democratic process are trained by groups promoting election disinformation?

A survey of elections directors in North Carolina found violations in 15 counties. Officials there observed poll watchers harassing voters and attempting to enter restricted areas to view confidential voting records, according to the Associated Press.

There were similar reports from Shasta County, California, where during the June primary elections, officials said observers tried to ‘intimidate’ them during the vote count.

And in Texas, the entire Gillespie County elections department resigned before the general election. In her resignation letter, the county’s election administrator cited “threats against election officials” and “dangerous misinformation” as reasons for stepping down from the position.

We speak with elections officials about the role of observers at voting sites, and who’s watching the poll watchers as they show up at polling places.

Special thanks to the investigative journalism project Documented for helping to gather audio for this show.

This conversation is part of our Remaking America collaboration with six public radio stations around the country. Remaking America is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Anna Casey