Fears of voter intimidation in 2020 election as Trump supporters block polling station in Virginia

Gino Spocchia
Sunday 20 September 2020 17:52 BST
Trump says Minnesota will be 'overrun and destroyed' by refugees if Biden wins
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Donald Trump supporters sparked fears of voter intimidation after they protested outside a polling station in Virginia as early voting took place this weekend.

Demonstrators were seen outside the Fairfax County Government Center on Saturday as the second day of early voting took place in Fairfax, Virginia.

At least two dozen supporters of the US president held “Trump - Pence” placards and waved American flags, about 100 feet from the entrance to the polling location.

The group chanted “four more years”, The New York Times reported, as voters entered a polling location that, at one point, appeared to be blocked from voters.

Voters were said to have been forced to walk around outside the centre, in order to enter, after the protesters formed a line near the entrance.

It comes within two weeks of president Trump telling his supporters to act as “poll watchers” for November’s presidential election, whilst falsely claiming that polling stations were places of fraud.

"Gotta be careful with those ballots. Watch those ballots. I don't like it,” the president said at an event in North Carolina this month. “You know, you have a Democrat governor, you have all these Democrats watching that stuff. I don't like it,"

Telling his supporters to "watch it," he told a crowd: "Be poll watchers when you go there. Watch all the thieving and stealing and robbing they do. Because this is important.”

Election officials in Fairfax acknowledged that some voters and polling staff felt intimidated by the small protest, which required an indoor waiting area to be set-up to stop protesters harassing voters.

“Citizens coming into and leaving the building did have to go by them,” Gary Scott, the general registrar of Fairfax County, said in a statement to the NYT, whilst adding that the president’s supporters did not directly block the entrance.

“Those voters who were in line outside of the building were moved inside and we continued operations. Some voters, and elections staff, did feel intimidated by the crowd and we did provide escorts past the group,” he added. “One of the escorts was the county executive.”

The US president, who trails his Democratic opponent Joe Biden in national polls, has spent months delegitimizing both mail-in ballots and in-person voting, as he claims in-advance that November’s election outcome will be “fraudulent”.

There is no basis in his claims.  

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