PHILADELPHIA (CN) - Donald Trump, the Republican Party and their supporters are waging a campaign to intimidate minority voters and keep them from the polls in the presidential election, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party claims in a lawsuit.
In a complaint filed Oct. 30, the Pennsylvania Democrats claim "Trump has made an escalating series of statements, often racially tinged, suggesting that his supporters should go to particular precincts on Election Day and intimidate voters — and that if they do not do so, he will lose the election because certain people, in certain precincts, will vote repeatedly for Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton."
Similar lawsuits were also filed Oct. 30 in Arizona, Ohio and Nevada.
All of the lawsuits go into great detail in quoting inflammatory statements Trump has made about the election in recent months.
The complaint filed in Philadelphia cites a Trump rally held in Altoona, Pennsylvania in August at which the candidate said "I hope you people can ... not just vote on the 8th, [but also] go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it's 100-percent fine.
"We're going to watch Pennsylvania — go down to
certain areas and watch and study — [and] make sure other people don't come in and vote five
times. ... The only way we can lose, in my opinion—and I really mean this, Pennsylvania — is if cheating goes on," Trump said.
Ten days later, the complaint continues, Trump was in neighboring Ohio, where he told supporters "You've got to get everybody to go out and watch, and go out and vote."
"And when [I) say `watch,' you know what I'm talking about, right?" Trump said.
The Democrats say Trump then went on to explain that his poll watchers should act in a capacity similar to law enforcement, even though
they will not in fact be acting in a law-enforcement capacity.
Since then, the complaint says, the Trump campaign has rolled out a form on its website for supporters to sign up to be "Trump Election Observers" in order to "Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election!"
The Democrats also take aim at GOP operative Roger Stone, who runs the group "Stop the Steal."
"Stone has a history of engaging in voter intimidation, racist and misogynist hate speech, and incitement," the complaint says. "Stone has
publicly called for the execution of Secretary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders, and George Soros,
The Democrats say Stone has amplified Trump's divisive rhetoric and used social media "to promote the common plan that Trump supporters — and particularly those who have agreed to engage in vigilante "ballot security" efforts — wear red shirts on Election Day."
The plaintiff party says these efforts fly in the face of both the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, legislation passed during Reconstruction to ensure the ability of freedmen to vote.
The Democrats seek declaratory and injunctive relief. Without it, they say, "voters will be subjected to intimidation, threats, and perhaps even force at the hands of vigilante 'poll watchers' and 'ballot integrity' volunteers on Election Day, and many may suffer unwarranted delays or denials of their right to cast a ballot in the approaching elections."
They are represented by Mark Aronchick of Hangley, Aronchich, Segal, Pudlin & Schiller in Philadelphia; Marc Elias, of Perkins Coie LLP in Washington, D.C., Michael Gottlieb, of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in Washington, D.C.; and Dawn Smalls, of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLp in New York.
Representatives of the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a statement, Stone said the lawsuit is without merit.
He said his organization is not coordinating with the Trump campaign or any official GOP organizations. Instead, it is partnering with another group called Vote Protectors to conduct exit polls and plans to compare those responses with the voting machine results in 7,000 precincts nationwide.
"We seek only to determine if the election is honestly and fairly conducted and to provide an evidentiary basis for a challenge to the election if that is not the case," Stone said.