Secret Service, polling stations

Secret Service Policing Polling Places?

By Grace Lidia Suárez

This story is breaking so I’m going to try to put some pieces together.

A little-noticed rider attached to a bill reauthorizing the Department of Homeland Security, which already cleared the House of Representatives would allow Trump to send Secret Service agents to polling places anywhere in the nation during a federal election. It’s apparently something Trump wants. According to the Boston Globe, the reason is that Trump believes, with no factual basis whatever, that his loss to Hillary Clinton in the popular vote was due to voter fraud.

State election officials are alarmed, and 19 of them have written to Congress, saying in part,

“There is no discernible need for federal secret service agents to intrude, at the direction of the president, who may also be a candidate in that election, into thousands of citadels where democracy is enshrined,” according to a letter opposing the provision that was signed by 19 bipartisan secretaries of state and elections commissioners.

The letter — sent to the Senate’s majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and its minority leader, Charles Schumer, on Friday afternoon —requests that the Senate keep the Secret Service provision from the final legislation. The elections officials described the proposal as “unprecedented and shocking.”

“This is an alarming proposal which raises the possibility that armed federal agents will be patrolling neighborhood precincts and vote centers,” according to the letter, which was obtained by the Globe.

The Secret Service was apparently seeking some clarifying language that would permit them to enter polling places to protect candidates, according to a statement made to the Globe. The agency did not seem to be seeking widespread unprecedented powers.

The Hill also reported on the story, but appears to be simply repeating the Globe story.

Stay tuned.

Share Your Thoughts?