Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Trump Campaign to Prevent Voter Intimidation

The order also applies to a Trump adviser who has organized poll-watching activities.

Evan Vucci/AP

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Update (11/6/2016): A three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the restraining order against Donald Trump’s campaign, his adviser Roger Stone, and their associates.

In a surprise ruling, a US district judge in Ohio issued a restraining order against Donald Trump’s campaign to prevent anyone working on the campaign from harassing and intimidating voters at the polls on Tuesday.

The order came after a two-hour hearing in which the judge pressed Trump’s lawyer to justify the candidate’s inflammatory rhetoric about voter fraud. It also applies to close Trump adviser Roger Stone, who has organized poll-watching activities, and the “officers, agents, servants, and employees” of Trump and Stone.

Voter fraud has been a popular theme among Republicans this year, from Trump to state Republican leaders who cite fraud as a reason to make it more difficult to vote. But as Friday’s ruling shows, it’s a lot easier to warn about fraud on the campaign trail than in front of a judge.

The restraining order is the result of a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Democratic Party against Trump, Stone, and the Ohio Republican Party. The suit asked the court to declare it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls. Similar suits have been filed in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Michigan. The Ohio complaint laid out a long history of remarks by Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, encouraging supporters to watch the polls. (For example, Trump told a crowd in Akron, Ohio, “And when I say ‘watch,’ you know what I’m talking about right? You know what I’m talking about.”) The order also covers Stone, after the complaint detailed efforts by his group, Stop the Steal, to recruit poll watchers and conduct exit polls on Election Day, among other activities. The complaint cited provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 that prohibit voter intimidation.

Here’s the order:

 

Civil rights lawyer Subodh Chandra was in the courtroom and tweeted throughout the hearing. Here’s what he observed:

Later Friday afternoon, the Trump campaign appealed the ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This story has been updated to include the judge’s order and Trump’s appeal.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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