Violence and Safety at the Polls

Americans aren’t accustomed to worrying about violence or safety ahead of an election. It’s a luxury afforded by years of largely peaceful voting. But after months filled with disease, disruption, and unrest, Americans are worried that Election Day could become a flashpoint. 

Voters point to evidence behind the anxiety. More than 226,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States, and cases are spiking across the country. A summer of protests of racial injustice and sometimes violent confrontations has left many on edge. 

Gun sales have broken records. Trump has called on supporters to monitor voting and has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.  

There was the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and another spate of violent protest over a police shooting of a Black man in Philadelphia. 

About 7 in 10 voters say they are anxious about the election, according to an AP-NORC poll. 

FBI and local officials in several states have been conducting drills and setting up command centers to respond to election-related unrest. 

Election officials are training poll workers on how to de-escalate conflict and ensuring they’re prepped on the rules about poll monitoring, voter intimidation.