National Guard Prepares for Possible Election Day Violence

Law enforcement personnel and military vehicles are seen as protesters rally outside Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., June 3, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

The National Guard has been activated in at least ten states and is ready to respond in case violence breaks out on Election Day and over the following days.

At least 14 more states are expected to activate their National Guard troops this week.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that he has sent the state’s National Guard to Chicago in the event the troops are needed to assist in quelling civil unrest.

“We’ve made sure that our National Guard is simply in a state of readiness,” the governor said.

“It is very important that we are patient with the presidential election,” Pritzker said. “We may very well not know who won the election on Wednesday, let alone Tuesday night.”

Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said Monday that the city did not request National Guard troops, but they are stationed there as a precautionary measure and there are “currently no plans for them to be deployed.”

Massachusetts has also activated its National Guard, Republican Governor Charlie Baker saying Monday that the troops will assist state and local authorities “for the preservation of life and property, preservation of order, and to afford protection to persons.”

Up to 1,000 guard personnel will be activated in Massachusetts, although more may be brought in later, the governor said.

In Oregon, Democratic Governor Kate Brown placed the state’s National Guard on standby for potential violence in Portland, which has been wracked by violent demonstrations since the police custody death of George Floyd in May.

“Every Oregonian has the right to express themselves freely and to peacefully assemble. However, I want to be clear that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated. Not from the Left, the Right, or the Center. Not this week, not any week in Oregon,” Brown said Monday.

“This election also comes at a pivotal moment in Oregon, where the pandemic, wildfires, and political atmosphere have boosted fear and anxiety,” she added.

Meanwhile, businesses in cities like New York and Washington, D.C. have boarded up their storefronts in anticipation of rioting on Tuesday and the following days.

The result of the 2020 presidential election may be delayed for days or even weeks as counties across the country count an unprecedented number of mail ballots.

As of Tuesday morning, Biden leads Trump nationally by 6.7 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

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