Scattered incidents of illegal paramilitary groups interfering with voting have popped up around the country ahead of Tuesday’s election, according to a Georgetown University Law Center institute that is tracking such episodes.
In Springfield, Ore., a group of armed men in trucks blocked access over the weekend to a ballot drop off box near a local swimming pool and questioned voters, prompting some of them to depart without depositing their ballots, said Mary McCord, the director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection during a news conference on Monday.
A spokesman for Lane County said that no complaints reached officials there. The spokesman, Devon Ashbridge, said that a legal demonstration was held Sunday afternoon in the park where the drop box was, causing some delays in the area, but that access to the box was not impeded.
After a group called Open Carry Pennsylvania threatened to deploy in Erie, Pa., the Board of Elections passed new regulations banning groups of two or more people from carrying weapons near polling places, Ms. McCord said.
Various local armed groups in Utah and Idaho, as well as one national group with chapters in numerous states, are also trying to use their promise to police polling stations on Tuesday as a means to raise money online, said Ms. McCord, a former senior Justice Department official.
Despite various rumblings online by illegal armed groups that they will police the polls, Ms. McCord and other experts said much will depend on what happens on Tuesday.
“So much really is dependent on the rhetoric coming out of the incumbent president and how he reacts to things,” said Ms. McCord. His comments praising the truck caravan that tried to drive a Biden campaign bus off a road in Texas, for example, could embolden his more extreme supporters to take similar actions elsewhere, she said.
Source: Read Full Article