Yes, Virginia, there are partisan election monitors

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The president’s call Tuesday night for election monitors is part of a plan launched months ago as the GOP is trying to find 50,000 people to serve as election monitors.

“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that’s what has to happen. I am urging them to do it,” said Trump during a chaotic debate Tuesday night at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Polling place at Virginia Beach Municipal Center

Not monitors, but supporters for Trump, showed up at a polling place in Fairfax County this month to hold a rally. While Trump claims he is trying to prevent voting fraud, some Democrats say Trump supporters are trying to intimidate voters. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, in a teleconference call with reporters, described crude efforts to intimidate early in-person voters in Virginia.

“We’ve already seen some of that in early voting in Virginia- efforts by some of the president’s supporters to try to get in people’s faces — without masks and yell and shout at them — sort of like superspreaders [who are] trying to dissuade them from voting,” said Sen. Kaine.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in Virginia a monitor must be a registered voter; only one person per party per polling place can be present at a given time but no more than three total for any organization. Independent candidates can also appoint a poll-watcher. Virginia also prohibits candidates from serving as poll watchers.

Bill Curtis, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach, is working to recruit 100 people to serve as monitors on Election Day.

Curtis, a former Naval officer, told 10 On Your Side he assures the people of Hampton Roads that all rules will be followed when his recruits show up at the polls on Election Day.

“Precinct monitoring happens every election; it’s just a cyclical process that we go through. So, there’s nothing new or unusual about this,” said Curtis.

York County Registrar Walt Latham told 10 on Your Side poll watchers, officially called authorized representatives, must be officially designated by their party chair.

“If they observe issues in the polling places, they should work with the chief of the polling place to resolve those issues,” said Latham.

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