Democratic representative asks US Attorneys for added vigilance

November 1, 2016

A state representative is asking the U.S. Attorneys from the Northern and Southern District of Indiana for added vigilance against potential voter intimidation during the Nov. 8 election.

Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis, chair of the Indiana House Democratic Caucus and the ranking Democrat on the House Elections and Apportionment Committee, sent letters Tuesday to David Capp, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, and Joshua Minkler, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Bartlett said he is concerned about the potential impact of some of the heated rhetoric of the presidential campaign.  

“While I have faith in our system and do not believe election fraud to be a serious issue in Indiana, I do have immediate concerns about possible voter intimidation due to the irresponsible claims by individuals in positions of authority and national political and media figures,” Bartlett wrote.

The Northern District would not confirm or deny it had received the letter. The Southern District confirmed it did receive the letter.   

Both U.S. Attorney offices issued press releases Oct. 25 announcing they had appointed an assistant U.S. Attorneys to serve as district election officers in each district, a practice the U.S. Attorney offices do each year. These individuals will be responsible for overseeing each district’s handling of complaints of election and voting rights abuses.

Bartlett in his letter noted in particular Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump urging his supporters to monitor the polls in “certain areas.”

“It is my personal belief that such pool watching, which can take on a vigilante aspect when done poorly, will result in voter intimidation as people visit neighborhoods like the ones I represent,” Bartlett wrote. “I am concerned that such untrained partisan so-called, ‘watchers’ already have a preconceived notion that the elections are ‘rigged’ and will be no more than political activists causing disruption and confusion for law-abiding citizens seeking to vote.”


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