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Donald Trump’s presidential campaign started recruiting “election observer” volunteers late Friday, after the Republican nominee claimed the only way he would lose Pennsylvania is “if cheating goes on” in “certain areas”.

The application form on the campaign website links directly to a page soliciting campaign donations with the text: “I AM YOUR VOICE.” Trump repeated claims at a Friday night rally, without evidence, that he fears a “rigged” election perpetrated in part by voter fraud.

No Republican candidate for president has won Pennsylvania since 1988, and in 2012 the state’s then Republican government, in court over a voter ID law, admitted in legal papers that its lawyers knew of no instances of in-person voter fraud in the state. The law was struck down in 2014.

Despite this, Trump warned that Pennsylvania voters needed monitoring. “We’re gonna watch Pennsylvania,” he said on Friday. “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. I really believe it.

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“So I hope you people can sort of not just vote on the 8th – go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100% fine,” he added.

Election observers are not unusual and are often relied on to field complaints and concerns from voters. Depending on state law, campaign representatives may be barred from the role. In Pennsylvania, only election officials, certified poll watchers or qualified voters with valid reasons can bring challenges on the grounds of identity or residence, according to the Advancement Project, a civil rights group.

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The state’s election code states that a voter “shall have the right to cast his or her vote: without the use or threat of force, violence or restraint; without the infliction or threat of infliction of injury; without any intimidation or coercion upon or against his or her person; or without any other action intended to deny any individual’s right to vote.” – Guardian



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