The National Ballot Security Task Force
was a controversial group founded in 1981 by the Republican National Committee
located in New Jersey
, as a means to win a gubernatorial election
. The Ballot Security Task Force was alleged to have carried out 'voter-suppression' and intimidation.
The task force consisted of a group of armed, off-duty police officers wearing armbands, who were hired to patrol polling sites in African-American
neighborhoods of Newark
Initially, 45,000 letters were mailed (using an outdated voter registration list) to primarily Latino
and African-American citizens. These voters were then challenged by the BSTF. In addition, the Republican National Committee filed a request for election supervisors to strike these voters from the rolls
, but the commissioners of registration refused when they discovered that the RNC had used outdated information.
On New Jersey's election day in 1981, the BSTF posted large signs, without identification but with an official appearance, reading
Armed officers in the task force were drawn from the ranks of off-duty county deputy sheriffs
and local police, who prominently displayed revolvers, two-way radios, and BSTF armbands. BSTF patrols challenged and questioned voters at the... Read More