The motivation for ginning up this bogeyman is often to intimidate certain groups of voters and, ultimately, make it harder for minority or disadvantaged groups to exercise their right to vote. It is no accident that these operations have repeatedly focus.
It’s time to stop this. Activities that intimidate voters are against the law. This can include photographing or videotaping them in a way that intimidates. Using confrontational language, targeting voter challenges or poll monitoring operations at communities of color is also illegal. Asking for voter identification only from minority voters is illegal. Interfering with someone getting help at the polls, who is uncomfortable speaking English, could also be a legal violation.
Election administrators should meet with poll watcher groups and provide guidance about what is legally permissible. Law enforcement, including the Justice Department, must make clear that, just as they watch for illegal voter fraud, they are likely to be watching for voter intimidation and discriminatory suppression. Violations of the law are to be pursued.