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Bolton Decries ‘Reverse Intimidation’: GOP Poll Watchers, Not Minorities, Are The Ones Actually Being Harassed

By Amanda Terkel on November 4, 2008 at 12:06 pm

"Bolton Decries ‘Reverse Intimidation’: GOP Poll Watchers, Not Minorities, Are The Ones Actually Being Harassed"

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Today on Fox News, host Megyn Kelly continued to rail against voting rights laws meant to protect Americans’ voting rights. Her guest, former U.N. ambassador and key 2000 Florida recount player John Bolton, was angry at the fact that there weren’t more criminal prosecutors at polling places. In fact, according to Bolton, GOP poll watchers, not minorities, are the ones who need protection:

BOLTON: There’s kind of a reverse intimidation going on. People who go and try to be poll watchers and keep fraudulently registered people from voting. They’re being told they’re intimidating minorities; it’s a form of political incorrectness.

Really, voting is an act of civic responsibility and making sure that only legitimate people votes is a very important aspect of this. Yet many Republican poll watchers, we’ve already heard, are being intimidated in their own right.

Watch it:

The right wing is heavily pushing this meme today. In particular, they’re pointing to GOP poll watchers in Philadelphia being asked to leave a polling place, allegedly because they were “in the minority” party in a heavily Democratic area. But even a reporter from Kelly’s own network debunked this myth today, saying they were asked to leave simply because it was crowded. Watch it:

Both Democrats and Republicans have deployed thousands of lawyers around the country today to watch for voting shenanigans. However, stationing Justice Department prosecutors at polls does more harm than good — despite Kelly’s claims — as the agency concluded in September when it rolled back John Ashcroft’s policy of doing so. These prosecutors are often untrained in voter protection and may discourage people from voting out of fear of harassment. The Progress Report has more on the myth of voter fraud. LCCR has put together resources here if you have any concerns or questions about voting.

Transcript:

KELLY: You know and I know, having practiced law, that if you want to find a way to challenge something, you can do it as a lawyer. There’s always — When it comes to voting, there’s always something you can complain about. So, will today’s result come down to the margin of victory? In other words, we only get the lawyers heavily involved if its tight. That’s what happened in Florida with you.

BOLTON: Right. Well, you’ve already seen some signs of that today. There’s kind of a reverse intimidation going on. People who go and try to be poll watchers and keep fraudulently registered people from voting. They’re being told they’re intimidating minorities; it’s a form of political incorrectness.

Really, voting is an act of civic responsibility and making sure that only legitimate people votes is a very important aspect of this. Yet many Republican poll watchers, we’ve already heard, are being intimidated in their own right.

KELLY What is so wrong with provisional ballots? If you show up at your polling station and there’s a discrepancy between you name and your address and so on, they no longer turn you away. They give you a provisional ballot, it goes off to the side, and if the election is tight and those ballots are needed, they’ll count them. And if they’re legitimate, they’ll count. So what is the fundamental objection to them?

BOLTON: Because I think it adds another root to the potential casting of many thousands of fraudulent ballots state-by state. If you don’t care enough to make sure your voting information is correct, I think that says something about the nature of your involvement in the process. I do think states could go a lot further in requiring positive identification, picture IDs, that kinds of thing, which we know is constitutional. That way people can be decided right there. You don’t have to go the provisional ballot route.

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