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How the campaigns are preparing to deploy thousands of poll watchers

October 22, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

For the first time in decades, the Republican National Committee can deploy thousands of poll watchers on Election Day. Democrats are turning to technology in an effort to up their own poll-watching efforts amid concerns about how President Donald Trump's supporters will respond to his calls to "go into the polls."

(CNN)For the first time in decades, the Republican National Committee can deploy thousands of poll watchers on Election Day. Democrats are turning to technology in an effort to up their own poll-watching efforts amid concerns about how President Donald Trump's supporters will respond to his calls to "go into the polls. "

Republicans and Democrats are signing up tens of thousands of people to be poll watchers across the country, in an effort to act as the backbone for the campaigns' sprawling legal operations, keeping a close eye for any anomalies.

Beyond the potential for aiding legal battles over disputed election results, poll watchers are expected to alert the campaigns quickly to problems like long lines, broken voter machines or problems with voter rolls -- issues that are likely to pop up and often lead to quick legal action to allow polling places to stay open later than scheduled.

Democrats, however, have raised alarms at Trump's rhetoric, saying at the first debate that his supporters should "go to the polls and watch very carefully. " Local election officials warned the comments sounded more like voter intimidation than just poll watching, and they're bracing for potential conflict on Election Day. In many states, official poll watching operations are carefully regulated, including limiting the number of watchers per campaign, but those rules typically don't go beyond a certain distance from the polls.

According to a DNC Tech Team Report posted online, poll watchers will create a ticket that goes to a "network of virtual boiler rooms," where staff and volunteers will "coordinate the response to the incidents as they occur. " Twenty-eight states have voter protection directors already in place f it is determined that legal action must be taken, according to a person familiar with the effort, as the campaign has fanned out lawyers across the country in addition to its poll watching operation.

Similar to the Democrats' "network of boiler rooms," Trump campaign poll watchers are instructed to bring up an issue through the chain of command who will have offices in each state to "triage Election Day issues that arise," said one person familiar with the effort.

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