Donald Trump wants to fight voter fraud with observers

State officials say not just anyone can show up to watch people vote

By Sachelle Saunders - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told voters last week that he doesn't have faith in the election process and he wants them to do something about it.

“The only way they can beat me, in my opinion, and I mean this 100 percent, is if in certain sections of the state, they cheat, OK," Trump said on Friday. "So I hope you people can sort of not just vote ... (but also) go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100 percent fine."

Orange County Elections Supervisor Bill Cowles said, however, that it's not that simple.

"People who come to the polls have to be registered to vote in that precinct," Cowles said. "And there is no just showing up, hanging out to just see what's happened."

Cowles said Florida poll observers have to be appointed by political committees and approved at least two weeks in advance or they will be turned away.

“Only one person from each party or each candidate can be in the room on Election Day as an observer, and they can only talk to the poll clerk," he said.

Trump's assertion of fraud prompted Florida's State Association of Supervisors of Elections to respond in an open letter, saying electronic voting systems don't have internet connections.

"Florida is a paper-based voting system and we made that decision as a state to go to paper base because you can always recount paper," Chris Chambless said.

Calls to wait outside the 100-foot mark of polling places has also brought fear of voter intimidation, and Cowles said that tactic could backfire.

“Anyone who wants to gather outside the 100-foot mark can, but I will tell you voters get very angry when they go to vote and they can't find parking space or they can't get through the crowd to get into the polling place to vote," Cowles said.

Voters concerned about the election can become a verified poll worker, which is a paid position. 

Those who want to be unpaid poll observers can sign up through respective campaigns.
 

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