House GOP campaign chair says voter intimidation happens ‘on both sides’

Rep. Tom Emmer (Minn.), the chairman of House Republicans’ campaign arm, on Sunday suggested voter intimidation comes from both parties while suggesting that voters skeptical about fairness in the upcoming election should volunteer as poll watchers in their state.

During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Emmer about a new CBS News-YouGov poll indicating a majority of Republicans favor private citizens patrolling polling places and ballot boxes, while a majority of Democrats opposed the practice.

“I think this is going to be a very good election because people are awake,” said Emmer. “They’re paying attention. They should volunteer as poll watchers, it’s a state-based system. Whatever your state requires and allows, you should definitely be involved. And I think it’s going to help the process.”

The exchange came days after the Maricopa County, Arizona Board of Supervisors chairman and recorder jointly sounded alarms about two armed individuals dressed in tactical gear who were found outside a ballot drop box.

“You’ve got stories on both sides of the aisle,” Emmer responded when Brennan pressed him about if the incident amounted to voter intimidation. “You get stories in many different states about how people have felt as though their right was infringed on. I think cooler heads need to prevail.”

Days prior, the Arizona secretary of state, who is also the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, referred a case of possible voter intimidation to the Justice Department and the state’s attorney general.

That case involves a voter who attempted to cast their ballot in Maricopa County and was reportedly “approached and followed by a group of individuals.”

Those incidents, both of which occured in a critical Arizona county that became a focal point of unfounded election concerns during the 2020 presidential election, raised fresh questions about voter intimidation in the lead up to the midterm contests next week.

“I think, again, Republicans, Democrats and others are well aware of the issues that we had during COVID,” Emmer said on CBS.

“People were stepping up and trying to do things to make sure we were protected and safe, but they were adjusting election laws on the fly,” he continued. “I think a lot of that has been resolved. I think you’re going to see a really good experience in nine days.”

Kari Lake, Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, has repeatedly declined to commit to accepting next month’s election result if she loses.

“I’m going to win the election,” Lake told CNN earlier this month. “And I will accept that result, because the people of Arizona will never support and vote for a coward like Katie Hobbs who won’t show up on a debate stage.”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.