Responding To Concerns About Possible Voter Intimidation, Some Groups Offer De-Escalation Training | New Hampshire Public Radio

Responding To Concerns About Possible Voter Intimidation, Some Groups Offer De-Escalation Training

Nov 1, 2020

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Some groups concerned about potential voter intimidation at the polls on Tuesday are offering de-escalation training for volunteers.

State law does allow for poll watchers, but if those watchers veer into intimidation or campaigning they could be removed from the polling place. 

At the first presidential debate, President Trump told supporters during the first presidential debate to “go into the polls and watch very carefully.” 

In response to the tensions around Election Day, and concerns about right-wing militia groups,  progressive organizations like Rights and Democracy have offered de-escalation training for volunteers over the past several weeks. 

Isaac Grimm, the organizing director for Rights and Democracy, said volunteers are concerned, and that de-escalation training gives them tools to help Election Day go smoothly.

“So that they know how to engage with someone who’s high-tension and a possible threat, and de-escalates them from a place of potential violence and re-directs their energy,” he said. 

This effort isn’t meant to overwhelm poll workers, Grimm said. One to two volunteers will be at a polling place, and Rights and Democracy plans on positioning volunteers at 50 to 100 locations across New Hampshire on Election Day. 

Grimm said these volunteers will stand outside of the polling place, away from the entrance. 

The US Attorney’s office in New Hampshire said it isn't aware of specific threats, but will be watching Tuesday’s election closely.  

“At this juncture, we have absolutely no reports of threats having been made by militia or outside groups to disrupt the vote in New Hampshire. We've heard nothing along those lines,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Murray. 

Both the U.S. Attorney and the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office will operate Election Day hotlines to field questions and complaints that might arise on Tuesday.