Armed Secret Service Agents Should Not Be Allowed at Polling Sites

A bipartisan group of secretaries of state are condemning a proposal to allow armed Secret Service agents at election polling stations. The proposal has already been approved by the House as part of the Homeland Security Department reauthorization bill. On Friday, 19 secretaries of state wrote a letter to Senate leaders urging them to drop the proposal, calling it “unprecedented and shocking.” For more, we speak with Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: A bipartisan group of secretaries of state are condemning a proposal to allow armed Secret Service agents at polling stations. The proposal has already been approved by the House as part of the Homeland Security Department reauthorization bill. On Friday, 19 secretaries of state wrote a letter to Senate leaders urging them to drop the proposal, calling it, quote, “unprecedented and shocking.” Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, told The Boston Globe, quote, “This is worthy of a Third World country. I’m not going to tolerate people showing up to our polling places. I would not want to have federal agents showing up in largely Hispanic areas. The potential for mischief here is enormous.”

AMY GOODMAN: The League of Women Voters also criticized the proposal. The group’s president, Chris Carson, said, quote, “This is just one more attempt this Administration has made to attack voters and flagrantly dismantle core tenants of our democracy,” unquote.

On Monday, the Secret Service issued a statement claiming the reports about the bill have been grossly mischaracterized. The agency said, “The only time armed Secret Service personnel would be at a polling place would be to facilitate the visiting of one of our protectees while they voted,” unquote.

We go now to Washington, DC, where we’re joined by Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Kristen Clarke, welcome to…

Read more