Millions of Americans will take part in the upcoming midterm elections, which will mark the halfway point of the Joe Biden presidency.
While voting is a common practice in the United States, it has lately caused a great deal of apprehension for those wanting to exercise their constitutional right.
Two in five U.S. voters say they are worried about threats of violence or voter intimidation at polling stations during the country’s midterm elections, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.
In fact, six cases of alleged voter intimidation were recently referred to the U.S. Justice Department from Arizona.
“Voter harassment may include gathering around ballot drop boxes questioning voters, brandishing weapons, taking pictures of people voting and following or chasing voters who are attempting to drop off their ballots, and it can all be considered voter intimidation. It is unacceptable,” said Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in a release.
“I will continue to forward reports received to law enforcement, and I urge law enforcement to take action to protect voters from ongoing intimidation,” she added.
The same day as Hobbs’ announcement, a restraining order request was filed against the group Clean Elections USA and its founder, Melody Jennings, who were accused of a “coordinated campaign of vigilante voter intimidation” in violation of the Voting Rights Act and federal civil rights law.
These incidents may have occurred in Arizona, but there is a growing concern across the country over voter intimidation, especially in battleground states where Republicans and Democrats are in closely contested campaigns for congressional seats.
Pennsylvania has also seen a spike in poll watchers, as trucks decked out in Republican-supported MAGA (Make America Great Again) flags have increased their presence in predominately Black communities.
This was noticed by Rev. Alyn Waller of the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, who says this is primarily about voter intimidation.
About a fifth of voters – including one in 10 Democrats and one in four Republicans – said they were not confident their ballots would be accurately counted.
This is a concern that was amplified during the 2020 presidential election, when then incumbent President Donald Trump claimed election fraud.
It led to an insurrection on January 6, 2021 in Washington D.C..
However, while 40 percent of people surveyed by Reuters are fearful of voter intimidation, election officials have also witnessed apprehension over poll watchers.
In the state of Kentucky, 23 out of the 120 county election clerks have opted not to seek reelection.
In Kentucky, 23 of the state’s 120 county election clerks have opted not to seek reelection this year – “an unusually high” rate of departures, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican, told CNN. Five have left their posts in recent weeks, he said.
Even with these looming fears, however, more than 10 million people have already cast their votes for the midterm elections and many more are expected to do so in the next week.
More than 10 million people have already cast ballots in the contests that will shape the rest of Democratic President Joe Biden’s term.