During an election year that was marred by an unprecedented global pandemic and some of the worst political violence witnessed in the US since the 1970s, it’s hardly a surprise that the DoJ is planning to station officials at an election night “command center” at FBI headquarters in the J Edgar Hoover building.
With liberals still hysterical over President Trump’s answer to Chris Wallace’s final debate question about pledging to accept the election results, whatever they may be, the DOJ is intensifying its usual routine monitoring of election night activity to also brace for any problems with voting machines that might arise.
The DoJ has started preparing for a wide range of scenarios in recent weeks, though WaPo refused to go into much detail about the various ‘scenarios’ that the DoJ anticipates.
“The Department of Justice takes election security and integrity seriously, and this year is no exception,” said Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman.
The FBI said in a statement that, as in previous years, it is “committed to protecting the American public’s right to a fair and safe election by securing it” and that officials “are working closely with our federal, state, and local partners so everyone involved with safe-guarding the election has the information and resources necessary to respond in a timely manner to any violations that may arise.”
“Of course our preparations for 2020 take into account the current climate of the country,” the statement said. “As always, the FBI has a responsibility to plan for a host of potential scenarios.”
While one DoJ flak insisted that this type of planning happens any year, another assured WaPo that anxieties about widespread political violence on election day are much more intense this year, given the extremely toxic political environment.
“There have been concerns raised about the possibility of civil unrest, and those are concerns raised on both sides, for different reasons, and because of that, we’re paying particularly close attention to that possibility,” the official said. “I think that we would be remiss if we didn’t take the monitoring of election security and integrity particularly seriously.”
Individuals at the command center will include civil rights and national security experts who will monitor accounts of high profile incidents and news accounts for any signs of unrest.
Plans for the ‘command center’ had been in place before Tuesday night’s debate. The president has repeatedly urged his followers to keep their eyes out for misconduct at the polls. And on Tuesday, he cited reports about an incident at a Philly polling station as support for his insinuations about the Dems trying to rig the election.
Trump told Fox News back in August that he would like local law enforcement to patrol the polls. “We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to hopefully have US attorneys…” Trump said, although federal law prohibits the presence of “armed men” at polling places. The DoJ does, however, employ specially trained poll monitors who watch for problems with voting. The FBI also regularly uses its command center for major events, like the State of the Union or a presidential inauguration.