President Donald Trump said Thursday night that he wants to have sheriffs and other law enforcement personnel monitoring the polls on Election Day, a move that, if he were to proceed with it, would almost certainly be challenged in court by the Democrats.
As NBC News reported, Trump spoke to Fox News' Sean Hannity by phone on Thursday night. The host asked him if planned to have "poll watchers" on Election Day to, as Hannity described it, "avoid fraud and cross check whether or not these are registered voters."
Trump, in his response, appeared to suggest that it's a sure thing that there will be various law enforcement officials at polling places to keep an eye on things.
"We're going to have everything. We're going to have sheriffs and law enforcement and we're going to have, hopefully, U.S. attorneys, and we're going to have everybody, and attorney generals, but it's very hard," he said.
For months, Trump has repeatedly suggested that this election will be rife with fraud that could undermine his reelection chances, CNN reported. Specifically, he's railed against voting by mail, suggesting that ballots could be stolen or that fraudulent ballots would be produced and mailed in.
However, in Thursday night's interview, he appeared to be taking direct aim at in-person voting as well. And indeed, Trump's campaign has already begun recruiting tens of thousands of volunteers to monitor the polls, for what could be the Republicans' largest poll-watching effort in history.
However, as the American Civil Liberties Union noted, the line between "poll watching" and "voter intimidation" can be a thin one and warned voters to act if they believe that efforts are being made to intimidate them or suppress their vote.
"If someone is attempting to interfere with your or anyone's right to vote, it may be voter intimidation and a violation of federal law," the document reads in part.
And as for the White House sending police to monitor voting at in-person locations, Trump may not even have that authority, noted CNN. Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California at Irvine, said that Trump's campaign could hire off-duty police officers to do the job, however.
What's more, any White House-backed attempt to do this is likely to be met with a lawsuit, tweeted Marc Elias, a Democrat who advocates for voting rights.
"BREAKING: Trump tells Hannity that he will send law enforcement to the polls. Not without a legal fight he won't!" he wrote.