Minneapolis Police Union Recruiting 30 Former Officers To Be “Poll Challengers”
The Minneapolis police union is seeking retired officers to be “eyes and ears” at polling sites in “problem” areas on Election Day, after an attorney for the Trump campaign asked for assistance, according to the StarTribune.
- William Willingham, who was identified in an email signature as a senior legal adviser and director of Election Day operations for the Trump campaign, asked for help from Minneapolis Police Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll on Wednesday.
- “Willingham asked the union president about recruiting 20 to 30 former officers to serve as ‘poll challengers’ to work either a four- or eight-hour shift in a ‘problem area,'" the StarTribune reported.
Willingham asked the union president about recruiting 20 to 30 former officers to serve as “poll challengers” to work either a four- or eight-hour shift in a “problem area.”
“Poll Challengers do not ‘stop’ people, per se, but act as our eyes and ears in the field and call our hotline to document fraud,” the e-mail read. “We don’t necessarily want our Poll Challengers to look intimidating, they cannot carry a weapon in the polls due to state law. … We just want people who won’t be afraid in rough neighborhoods or intimidating situations.”
- Kroll forwarded the request to federation members, writing: “Please share, and e-mail me if you are willing to assist.”
- Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement earlier this week: “Minnesotans can also expect that they will be able to vote without intimidation or interference. Minnesota and federal law are clear: it is strictly illegal to intimidate or interfere with voters.”
- Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon responded: “Targeting anyone for a challenge based on being in a so-called ‘problem area’ is unlawful and will not be permitted in Minnesota’s polling places.”
- Minneapolis City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison called the email’s language “incredibly inappropriate” and said the intention appeared to be to discourage voters in certain neighborhoods.
- Councilman Ellison said: “There’s the clear dog whistle of ‘rough area,’ and we need people who aren’t ‘easily intimidated,’ and people who aren’t scared.”
The president’s campaign has vowed to raise a 50,000-plus army of volunteer observers to monitor voting across Minnesota and other battleground states, where polls show the president trailing former Vice President Joe Biden.
Minnesota GOP officials say roughly 3,000 people have signed up so far and will get training on state election laws, which forbid campaign workers to interact directly with voters.