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Thu Oct 20, 2016, 01:02 PM

 

Open Carry and Election Law




ByJosh MarshallPublishedOctober 16, 2016, 3:20 PM EDT


Here's one topic I've been thinking about and which we're going to be talking about next week. Where do state laws on voter suppression and open-carry intersect with federal laws on voter intimidation and voting rights?

You saw this incident last week where two Trumpers stood outside a Democratic campaign office in Virginia for twelve hours holding firearms. This was obviously menacing behavior. And this takes on a new dimension, both substantively and in terms of federal law, when it's tied to elections. But it was also completely legal under state firearms laws.

We know Donald Trump now repeatedly asks his supporters to go to minority precincts on election day to search for signs of voter fraud and attempts to steal the election. Today his chief surrogate Rudy Giuliani told Jake Tapper that Democrats are able to steal elections because they "control the inner cities." So there's no longer much attempt to be subtle about warning that black people are going to steal the election for Hillary Clinton.

Voting officials in a number of open-carry states say it wouldn't necessarily be against the law if Trumpers did some version of what happened in Virginia outside polling places. It wouldn't necessarily be protected either. It would be up to the local election official to decide if it amounted to intimidation or interference.

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http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/open-carry-and-election-law

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