In a fun dystopian twist, a company is offering to give foreign tourists an up-close look at the U.S. election system—during some of the most crucial elections in recent history.
The midterm elections are already highly contentious, with President Joe Biden warning repeatedly that “democracy is on the ballot.” Democrats are fighting to hold their razor-thin control of Congress, while Republicans are priming voters to reject tight liberal victories. Billions of dollars have been poured into the races in an effort to influence the outcome.
“Folks, US ‘democracy’ has become such a clown show that English and Australian tourists are booking specialized election experience tours & disrupting canvasses,” writer Gwen Snyder warned on Twitter Monday.
Citing a friend of hers who works with Get Out The Vote in Philadelphia, a typically blue haven in an otherwise red state, Snyder said that “far right disruptors” were showing up to GOTV events and pelting organizers with an endless stream of strange, highly detailed questions. All of them seemed to be British or Australian.
“Turns out, these were tourists that had PAID A COMPANY to deliver them a front seat at the US election zoo,” Snyder explained in her Twitter thread. “Anyway, it’s election eve and everyone on the ground is now scrambling to figure out how to protect their canvasses from weird intrusive election tourists in this, one of the most critical turn out areas in the country.”
The group, Political Tours, seems to turn a profit by taking tourists to some of the most contentious elections around the world. The company website says most clients come from New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S., as well as England and Europe.
The six-day U.S. tour costs £3,950, about $4,500, and includes a visit to polling stations on Election Day. The website mentions visiting Virginia and Pennsylvania, both of which will witness toss-up races for Congress.
Many voters and organizers across the country are already on edge, with reports of armed watchers turning up to ballot boxes and intimidating would-be voters. Any disruptions at the voting booth could cause delays, which could be seized upon by Republicans as a reason to blame Democrats for rigging the election.
The last thing the country needs is tourists at the voting booth.