Acting DHS chief says he has no authority to send agents to polling stations after Trump comments

Source: The Hill | August 23, 2020 | Justin Wise

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Sunday that DHS has no authority to send federal agents to oversee polling locations in November, despite President Trump’s vow to have a federal law enforcement presence at the polls on Election Day.

“That’s not what we do at the Department of Homeland Security,” Wolf said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked about Trump’s comments. “We have law enforcement authorities and law enforcement officers at the department. We have express authorities given to us by Congress and this is not one of them.”

“This is not a mission for the Department of Homeland Security,” Wolf added, noting that he has not had any discussions with Trump about sending federal agents to polling sites.

Asked about the prospect of Trump requesting DHS send armed agents to polling locations on Election Day, Wolf again stated, “We don’t have any authority to do that at the department.”

Trump raised alarm last Thursday after saying during an interview on Fox News that he planned to send sheriffs, federal law enforcement and U.S. attorneys to polling locations in November as part of an effort to prevent voter fraud. The pledge immediately prompted scrutiny from voting rights advocates and others, who suggested the vow could amount to illegal voter intimidation.

Federal law prohibits any conduct intimidating voters. Some states have laws banning law enforcement officials from having a presence at polling sites on Election Day. For example, in Pennsylvania, a state law bars police officers from being at polling locations unless they are there to vote or serve a warrant, according to a memo from the Brennan Center for Justice.


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  •  EVERYDAY #42191

    Trump is flailing. He wants to win re-election at any cost, so he will try to do anything to achieve victory. He is not trying to prevent voter fraud. He’s trying to cheat, intimidate and steal to win.

    Thank goodness Mr. Wolf told Trump the DHS will not participate in his scheme. Let’s hope other law enforcement agencies do likewise.

    I’m even more glad I decided to vote by mail. I intend to fill out and mail or drop off my vote as soo n as I get my ballot. This way, I won’t run the risk of infection by other voters and polling place employees, and perhaps intimidation by the mafia don in the White House and his henchmen.

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