Trump campaign ready to unleash thousands of poll watchers on Election Day

The Trump deployment is the culmination of months of detailed planning, aggressive volunteer recruitment, and reconnaissance trips to key states. President Donald Trump has been personally briefed on the program, which is overseen by nearly two dozen full time staffers.

It underscores how — to the alarm of voting rights advocates and Democrats — Trump and his reelection effort have turned the idea of voter fraud and irregularities into a centerpiece of the campaign. The prospect of a prolonged vote-counting fight that will extend far beyond Nov. 3 appears very real…

Veteran Republican election attorney Ben Ginsberg warned in a Washington Post op-ed Monday, “Should Trump seek to delegitimatize the presidential election … His most obvious tactic would be having the RNC instruct its poll watchers to abandon their traditional role and, instead, lodge mass challenges both as voters cast their ballots and then as mail ballots are tabulated.”

Trump advisers strenuously deny their goal is anything other than ensuring that polling places are running smoothly and following the law. The campaign said poll watchers have been trained to focus on mundane matters like making sure that lines aren’t too long, machines are working properly, and that voting locations are stocked with enough ballots.