Exclusive: Two in five U.S. voters worry about election intimidation -Reuters/Ipsos

WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Two in five U.S. voters say they are worried about threats of violence or voter intimidation at polling places during the midterm elections, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

So far, no violence has been reported at early voting centers or ballot drop-off locations ahead of the Nov. 8 election, when Republicans are favored to take control of the state House of Representatives. States and possibly the Senate.

But officials in Arizona, a key battleground, have already asked the federal government to investigate a case of possible voter intimidation, after people voting were visibly filmed and followed. An official complaint noted that self-appointed comptrollers called voters “mules”, a reference to a conspiracy theory popularized by supporters of former President Donald Trump’s false claim that his 2020 defeat was the result of widespread fraud.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, completed on Monday, also found that two-thirds of registered voters fear extremists will commit post-election violence if they are unhappy with the outcome.

The results illustrate what some observers have said is growing evidence of a lack of faith in the country’s democratic institutions, after decades of deepening partisanship.

Former Pennsylvania election official Kathy Boockvar said fears of voter intimidation and violence run counter to American tradition.

“Our country is built on democracy. We should be excited about Election Day,” said Boockvar, a member of the bipartisan Committee for Safe and Secure Elections.

Mistrust between America’s two political camps has grown over the past half-century, with bipartisan legislation becoming rarer and a growing share of parents saying they would be unhappy if their child married someone from the other party. Politics.

Among registered voters polled by Reuters/Ipsos, 43% were concerned about threats of violence or intimidation of voters when voting in person. Fear was most pronounced among Democratic voters, 51% of whom said they worried about the violence, although a still large share of Republicans – 38% – harbored the same concerns.

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About a fifth of voters — including one in 10 Democrats and one in four Republicans — said they weren’t confident their ballots would be counted correctly.

Inflamed by his false allegations of fraud, thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

While voter rights advocates accuse far-right groups who believe the allegations of sending poll watchers to intimidate Democratic Party-aligned minority voters, conservative US media highlights left-wing violence, frequently linking Democrats to the riots sparked by the 2020 killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

About two-thirds of registered voters — 67% — said they feared extremists would commit post-election violence, including about three in four registered Democrats and three in five registered Republicans.

More than 10 million people have already voted in the contests that will shape the rest of Democratic President Joe Biden’s term.

Republican control of either house of Congress would effectively torpedo Biden’s agenda.

About two-thirds of Republicans and one-third of Democrats think voter fraud is a widespread problem, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll. Two-thirds of Republicans believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.

Trump’s fraud allegations have been dismissed by dozens of US courts, state reviews and several members of his administration. Nonetheless, they have been widely accepted, helping to fuel a cottage industry of poll monitoring tools.

A software application heavily promoted by far-right media organizations allows users to view a map of reported problems at polling stations and anomalies in the vote count. Conservative activists have set up a hotline to collect similar reports.

The Reuters/Ipsos online poll collected responses from 4,413 American adults nationwide and had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of between 2 and 5 percentage points.

Reporting by Jason Lange and Moira Warburton; Editing by Scott Malone and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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