Ballot Security Task Force

Ballot Security Task Force

Ballot Security Task Force

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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 and Hispanic neighborhoods of Newark and Trenton.

Initially, 45,000 letters were mailed (using an outdated voter registration list) to primarily Latino and African-American citizens.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these voters from the rolls, but the commissioners of registration refused when they discovered that the RNC had used outdated information.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...
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