With the overall goal of ensuring fair and lawful access to polls tomorrow, the U.S. Department of Justice is dispatching hundreds of civil rights personnel to locations in 28 states. The DOJ does this sort of thing regularly, but this year's presidential election — and the heightened paranoia of various voter bases — has made the job a little more imperative.
For weeks now, Donald Trump has been warning of "voter fraud" and encouraging his fans to monitor their polling places and make sure that this election isn't "rigged." It's all of a piece: The only candidate calling for voter profiling en masse is the same candidate who's employed Fear and Violence as a platform.
And so here we go, seeing Ohio residents like Steve Webb, 61, chewing Trump's cud and speaking with the media
(which, hey, aren't those folks supposed to despise the media?): “Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure. I’ll look for … well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American. ... I'm going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”
It's stuff like that that the DOJ, in theory, will be looking for. And it's something that really hasn't been such a force in previous general elections.
Know, too, that this is the first presidential election since the U.S. Supreme Court shot down various portions of the Voting Rights Act
, which prompted many states to pursue stringent voter identification laws and to shutter some poll locations. And so on top of trying to keep the Steve Webbs of the world in line — as those Trumpian foot-soldiers lick their chops in search of a Mexican-American casting 16 votes for Hillary Clinton — DOJ monitors will also be dealing with more actual
voting restrictions than ever before.