County clerks to watch for voter intimidation this election - WNEM TV 5

County clerks to watch for voter intimidation this election

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Democrats argue presidential candidate Donald Trump is encouraging supporters to create poll watching teams, which violates the consent decree set in 1982.

The decree forbids the Republican party from engaging in so called "ballot-security measures."

Voter intimidation is intended to keep qualified voters from casting their ballot.

"We like to think of our precincts like sacred ground," said Phil Kerns, city clerk for Frankenmuth.

He said there is a public spot to observe the voting process, but you're not supposed to talk to voters.

"Unless you are a registered challenger, you really have no right to do any type of questioning of people," Kerns said.

He said poll challengers are pre-registered representatives from different political groups. They cannot speak to the voter and are only allowed to challenge age, whether you are voting in the correct precinct and if you are registered.

Voting intimidation doesn't happen in every community, but it has happened in Saginaw County. The clerk there said she wishes it would stop.

"Legal groups on both sides of Democratic and Republican party at the polling places, especially in the urban areas. One actually almost got into a fist fight," said Susan Kaltenbach, Saginaw County clerk.

With the presidential campaign this year, she expects to see more issues than ever before.

"It has come up more in conversation and I've gotten more calls and emails about this. And I think it's because we have one candidate that is trying to promote this," Kaltenbach said.

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