While candidates are focused on getting voters out to the polls on November 2nd, in many states across the country, ballots have already been cast as part of early voting. The option to vote early is available to voters in more than 30 states, and almost 9 million people have cast ballots so far this year. But the early voting process is not without controversy. At polling locations throughout the United States, incidents of voter fraud and intimidation are being reported.
In Houston, Texas a Tea Party group called the King Street Patriots trains poll watchers to monitor polling stations and be on the lookout for illegal activity. Even before Election Day, the group has been kept busy at polling places, where they say they've observed instances of fraud and intimidation against voters and poll watchers alike. Catherine Engelbrecht is the volunteer leader of the King Street Patriots and spoke to Fox News on Saturday about the kinds of abuses members of her group have observed.
While stepping in to stop voter intimidation, or attempts to influence the way a person might vote, poll watchers have described being "pushed, pulled and yelled at," a disconcerting sentiment given these people are "volunteers, many of them soccer moms and elderly people" that are "being treated unfairly."
Appearing with Engelbrecht was Jonathan Saenz, an attorney for the Liberty Institute, which is representing the King Street Patriots. Earlier this week, the Liberty Institute sent a request to the Justice Department inviting them to come to Houston and "protect the integrity of the voting process." Friday, the Justice Department released a statement detailing the 30 locations, including Harris County, Texas where the King Street Patriots are based, that they plan to visit on November 2nd. The statement reads in part, "although state and local governments have primary responsibility for administering elections, under the federal voting rights laws, the Civil Rights Division is charged with and committed to protecting the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day."
"Even though the runway is short between now and Tuesday," Engelbrecht wants voters to remember they can "still get involved" and be the "eyes and ears of the Republic" on Election Day.
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