Sharpton: 'Poll Watching Brigades' to Be Stationed on Election Day

By | October 29, 2012 | 2:44pm EDT

Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The Rev. Al Sharpton said his National Action Network would be involved in "poll watching brigades" in Tennessee to prevent any voter suppression or intimidation.

"One of the things that we announced today is that we are starting brigades here in Tennessee, voting poll watching brigades,” Sharpton said Friday.In a very close presidential race, questions have been raised about voting integrity.

Republicans, who have supported voter ID laws, fear that ineligible voters will cast ballots, pointing out that dead voters are listed on the rolls, while some living voters’ addresses are not updated to reflect the precinct they currently live. Democrats counter that such laws could suppress voter turnout.

One group called True the Vote, was started to combat voter fraud, but Sharpton argued the group is involved in voter intimidation.

“Now there is this group out called True the Vote said they are going to have a million people out,” Shartpton said. “That is clearly suspect. Many feel they are set up to intimidate and harass voters. So they are making sure that they are there to make sure the process is unfair and uninterrupted.

“The brigade that is being formed here, they were at the breakfast, the leadership breakfast we had here. The National Action Network, Memphis Chapter, will be working along with them."

CNSNews.com called and e-mailed the national office for the National Action Network in New York to ask, “1. Will the NAN have poll watching brigades in other areas than Tennessee? 2. What are poll watching brigades exactly? How will it be different from what True the Vote groups are doing at polling places?”

CNSNews.com also left phone and e-mail messages with the Memphis, Tenn., chapter of the National Action Network.

At press time, neither the national nor Tennessee offices responded to inquiries from CNSNews.com.

The True the Vote website says its initiatives include, “Mobilizing and training volunteers who are willing to work as election monitors; Aggressively pursuing fraud reports to ensure prosecution when appropriate; Providing a support system for our volunteers that includes live and online training, quick reference guides, a call bank to phone in problem reports, information on videotaping at polling places, and security as necessary; Creating documentaries and instructional videos for use in recruiting and training; Raising awareness of the problem through strategic outreach efforts including advertising, social networking, media relations, and relational marketing; Voter registration programs and efforts to validate existing registration lists, including the use of pattern recognition software to detect problem areas.”

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