Trump DOJ Claims Legal Power to Send Armed Federal Agents Into Ballot-Counting Sites to Investigate Claims of Voter Fraud

Pollworkers in Election Sites

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The Trump Department of Justice claimed in an email sent to federal prosecutors on Wednesday that the agency has the legal right to send armed agents into active ballot-counting sites to investigates claims of voter fraud.

According to the New York Times, who learned of the inter-departmental message, the DOJ was opening the door to possible intimidation by federal agents entering into elections offices and disrupting the ongoing work of counting votes.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Donald Trump lashed out at state election officials in a lengthy rant, ominously declaring “we want all voting to stop” and threatened to go to the Supreme Court to sue over unspecified – and baseless — charges of voting irregularities and fraud in states where he had been temporarily leading. Likewise, his son, Eric, raged against the ongoing vote in Pennsylvania, where the president’s Election Night margin had begun to rapidly dwindle as mail ballots are counted, while other Trump supporters attempted to storm into an election officials in Detroit on Wednesday, while chanting “Stop the count.”

As the Times explains:

A law prohibits the stationing of armed federal officers at polls on Election Day. But a top official told prosecutors that the department interpreted the statute to mean that they could send armed federal officers to polling stations and locations where ballots were being counted anytime after that.

But one state-level law enforcement official publicly pushed back on the DOJ’s sweeping claim to deploying armed federal agents into state elections offices.

“Elections are a state matter, and we have authority as state officials over anyone trying to enter locations where ballots are being counted,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey told the Times. “Anything else is a radical reinterpretation of the law. States can handle elections, and we will ensure the people decide the outcome.”

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