Voter intimidation is fast becoming a regular theme in the final days of the 2016 presidential election.
In Arkansas, a Republican election commissioner has been accused of intimidating voters after he harassed a group of early voters in a polling station somewhere in Pine Bluff.
According to Arkansas Online, Stu Soffer, a designated poll watcher, was accused of voter intimidation by Jefferson County Clerk Patricia Johnson and an unrelated Pine Bluff resident Victor Johnson.
They said that Soffer stood at the entrance of an early voting polling station shouting at voters to “shut up and go home.”
This is not Soffer’s first time making the headlines in this election. Earlier this year, he brandished a gun during a meeting of the Jefferson County Election Commission.
According to the attorney representing Victor Johnson, Soffer applied to be a poll watcher on Oct. 18 and “interfered with and intimidated voters” at the Jefferson County Courthouse on Oct. 24.
“This is deeply troubling to the voters of Jefferson County and also to the election administrators whose job it is to administer the elections free of fear and intimidation,” said attorney Chris Burks.
Victor Johnson said that Soffer’s behavior was unsettling.
“As a result of the disruption and confusion caused by Stu Soffer and other Republicans — I was not able to cast my ballot that day,” he said in the lawsuit filed by his attorney.
Arkansas is not the only state in which voter intimidation has become an issue. In fact the lawsuits are piling up in New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania on Monday, according to The Associated Press.
In the weeks before Election Day, members of the Democratic and Republican parties have filed half a dozen warring complaints about poll monitoring.
Democrats allege Republicans are coordinating widespread voter-intimidation efforts, but Republicans have argued that poll watching should be expanded.
This trend has been exacerbated by Donald Trump who has claimed — without evidence — that the election is being “rigged” in favor of the Democrats.
The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016
Election fraud is already occurring all over the country, yet the lying mainstream media says it doesn't exist. The system is #rigged!— Makada ???? (@_Makada_) October 30, 2016
The Republican presidential nominee’s rhetoric has allowed some members of the Republican Party to feel that they have the license to carry out tactics such as Soffer's.
It just goes to show what the tenor of this campaign has been. While some people naively believe that the anger and frustration will all dissipate once the election is decided, but such visceral divisions don’t go away over night.
The hope is that the next president will somehow find a way to heal what is a deeply divided country.
Banner Photo: Facebook, Stu Soffer