A mural in the Logan neighborhood of Santa Ana, Calif., one of the city's oldest Mexican neighborhoods, bears the faces of local men who served in the armed forces. Credit Andrew Cullen for The New York Times.
Vicente Sarmiento remembers when the local Republican Party here posted uniformed guards at polling stations in a closely fought State Assembly race three decades ago and they hoisted signs in English and Spanish warning that noncitizens were prohibited from voting. The guards were removed after state elections officials threatened legal action.Yes, on election day in November of 1988, at 20 polling stations in Santa Ana, the local GOP posted uniformed guards. According to the LA Times: "Republican Party Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes confirmed that the security guards "were part of our Election Day security effort" in mostly Latino neighborhoods in central and south Santa Ana."
|A police officer holds part of a sign seized at a polling place in Santa Ana in 1988, when uniformed guards were stationed at 20 polling sites in the city by the GOP. (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)|
Now, nearly three decades later, as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump calls for his supporters to volunteer as election observers, concerns of voter intimidation have come to the forefront. At a rally in Pennsylvania last week, Trump used strong racial overtones to allege to his mostly white audience that “certain areas” of the state — such as Philadelphia, where almost half the residents are black — will commit voter fraud to support Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
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