Bill Gilkeson: Election Day chaos

July 29, 2013 

Election chaos

The election bill has two related, disturbing pieces.

The first allows a county political party to appoint 10 roving observers, who may go into any precinct in the county. Before, a party could appoint up to two observers for each precinct, but they had to stay in that precinct.

The second piece allows a challenge to a voter to be filed in a precinct on Election Day by any voter in the county. Before, the law allowed Election-Day challenges, but they could be filed only by another voter in that precinct.

Together, these provisions will allow a white Republican observer from say, Country Club Hills, to be sent to a heavily black polling place, say Chavis Heights, and challenge any black voter – or voters – he chooses.

Why think this new power might be abused? Because one right-wing group has already demonstrated it can and will target unfavorable voters for mass challenges with the flimsiest evidence. After investigation, few of their allegations have stuck. But their challenges had to be filed before Election Day, giving time for investigation.

Now, if the Republicans appoint such people as observers, they will be able to create chaos on Election Day.

Bill Gilkeson


News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service