Leaders of the armed militant group, Oath Keepers, are urging members to monitor polling stations on Election Day 2016 in an all-out effort to prevent voter fraud.
Oath Keepers has been in standoffs with the federal government and is mostly seen as a right-wing leaning group. Donald Trump has encouraged his supporters to watch for voter fraud on Election Day due to the country allegedly being under siege of a “rigged” system.
Buzzfeed reports that one such dedicated group is taking Trump’s claims seriously and wants members to literally go to various polling stations to watch for any suspicious activity with voters.
Although Oath Keepers is an armed militant organization comprised of former and current military members, police officers, and first responders who declare they protect the Constitution. Leaders of the group are instructing members to form “incognito intelligence-gathering and crime-spotting teams” to conduct surveillance of anyone suspected of committing voter fraud in the presidential election.
Stewart Rhodes, president and founder of Oath Keepers, sent an email to chapters of the group on Wednesday in a “call to action.” In it, he urged members to “hunt down” incidents of voter fraud “by leftists, but we will spot, document, and report any apparent attempt at vote fraud or voter intimidation by anyone.”
“If you wear Oath Keepers gear, you can expect to be accused by partisan Democrat activists and the media (essentially the same thing) of attempted voter intimidation,” the letter reads. “Do not make it easy for leftist partisans to attempt to twist this around on you and on this org.”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) October 27, 2016
Rhodes told Oath Keepers members in a video to “blend with the crowd” at polling stations on November 8. Whatever they opt to wear, they must refrain from wearing camouflage gear or anything bearing the groups logo. Rhodes added that it might mean “wearing a Bob Marley, pot leaf, tie-die peace symbol or ‘Che’ Guevara T-Shirt.” The general intent is to monitor voting stations, not engage in anything that would otherwise make the group culpable of voter intimidation. Rhodes wants members to monitor polling stations unarmed.
Some states require poll watchers be registered and trained by counties or precincts where they’ll monitor voters.
Group leaders deny they’re a militia, but the FBI has described them as a militant anti-government organization.
According to the report, the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have called Oath Keepers “an anti-government, right-wing organization composed of members who follow a ‘sovereign citizen’ ideology that questions the legitimacy of the federal government.”
Oath Keepers have involved themselves in headlining events where protests have made widespread news. They’ve been in tense standoffs with the government over land disputes, such as the 2014 dispute between the Bureau of Land Management and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.
Armed militia Oath Keepers suggest members patrol polls incognito, perhaps in Bob Marley T-shirts or Carhartt pants: https://t.co/N4mR4BG4cx
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) October 28, 2016
In 2015, several members of Oath Keepers traveled to Ferguson, Missouri when tensions were at an all-time high between citizens and police following the police-involved shooting death of African-American teen, Michael Brown. The militant group wore camouflage attire, bulletproof vests, and were armed with rifles as a buffer between local law enforcement and demonstrators who were angry over police violence. The organization said they were there to deter looting and help with restoring peace between police, demonstrators, and the media around the city.
If members of Oath Keepers go incognito to monitor polling stations for voter fraud, it might be hard to spot who they are. With all of the speculations about a “rigged” system, it’s sure to get some watchful eyes out on Election Day 2016.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]