An Ohio U.S. district court judge has ordered Donald Trump and the raunchiest of his Republican supporters not to seek to intimidate voters or mute their collective voice when the nation takes to the polls on Tuesday to elect the country’s 44th president.
With roughly just over 72 hours remaining before polling booths open across the country for the climax of what has been one of the most contentious battles for the White House in history, Yahoo News reports Judge James Gwin rendered his no-holds-barred missive on Friday, further instructing Trump supporters not to interrogate other voters within 100 feet of polling locations or block them from entering any facilities.
The judge’s ruling left open the rising possibility of huge fines and even jail time for those who might seek to circumvent it, instantly drawing electrifying applause and widespread support from Democrats and backers of Hillary Clinton.
As the dawn of Election Day draws nearer, Democratic Party leaders have openly lamented that the Trump campaign was encouraging followers to go as far as directly confronting some would-be voters in the name of suppressing the vote.
At campaign rallies held across the country, Trump has routinely made the specter of a “rigged system” one of his most passionately articulated arguments, openly calling on his supporters to tirelessly monitor voting activity in large cities for any possible signs of fraud.
Over the course of it all, the bombastic New York City real estate mogul has provided little evidence of the widespread fraud he has hinted at, and several recent studies on voting regulations have found instances of such corruption to be rare and largely atypical.
Also on Friday, voting rights advocates scored huge victories in Arizona, North Carolina, and Kansas as they sought to roll back a whole slew of election restrictions recently implemented in states across the country.
In Arizona, a federal court judge moved to suspend a state law that prohibits advocates’ ability to collect absentee ballots, while in North Carolina a judge greenlit a motion allowing election officials to
restore the names of thousands of would-be voters that had been purged from the ranks in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, in Kansas a state court blocked a dual-registration system that would have stripped away the suffrage rights of as many as 20,000 registered voters based on citizenship-related issues.
Just days earlier, Democratic Party officials filed federal suits in the critical battleground states of Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania alleging that the Trump campaign was spearheading a “coordinated campaign of vigilante voter intimidation” aimed directly at minorities and bolstered by Trump’s suggestions his supporters directly venture into certain precincts to monitor the situation.
While GOP supporters dismissively rejected the suits as “bogus,” voting rights advocates insist they have already experienced a higher rate of calls about problems at early polling voting sites.
In Florida, feverish Trump supporters were recently spotted using bullhorns to taunt and shout down Clinton supporters outside a West Palm Beach voting location.
In addition, a recent Bloomberg report cited an anonymous Trump campaign official as admitting top officials already have “three major voter suppression operations underway” with one of them specifically earmarked to drive down African-American voter turnout in key areas of the country.”
Polls indicate the race for the Oval Office has tightened over the last several days with Trump now trailing Clinton by an average of just 2.3 points in the latest Real Clear Politics poll. The back and forth nature of the race has prompted both candidates to spend the finals hour leading up to Nov. 8 crisscrossing the country in hopes of gaining any edge they can in a race that has seemingly only grown more divisive over time.
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