Federal authorities have advised law enforcement agencies across the nation to be prepared for possible political violence Tuesday as a record number of Americans are expected to turn out for the midterm elections.
The FBI, along with the Department of Homeland Security cite an “ongoing threat of violence” in a bulletin to high-ranking officers.
“Both domestic extremists and (radicalized jihadists) have previously targeted public events and government officials, and we remain concerned by the ongoing threat of lone offender violence,” the statement says, according to KTRK.
“We are concerned some domestic extremists and (radicalized jihadists) may perceive the election or transition period (which in most cases will extend through January 2019) as an opportunity to engage in violence, including assaults against political or prominent public figures and low-level acts of violence against governmental and nongovernmental institutions associated with political figures or the democratic process.”
Earlier Monday, multiple federal agencies released a joint statement on election day preparations:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—in coordination with federal, state, local, and private sector partners nationwide—are continuing efforts to protect our elections. Today, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, DNI Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray released the following joint statement:
Our agencies have been working in unprecedented ways to combat influence efforts and to support state and local officials in securing our elections, including efforts to harden election infrastructure against interference. Our goal is clear: ensure every vote is counted and counted correctly. At this time we have no indication of compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes.
But Americans should be aware that foreign actors—and Russia in particular—continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord. They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics. The American public can mitigate these efforts by remaining informed, reporting suspicious activity, and being vigilant consumers of information, as discussed below.
The United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from Russia, China, Iran, or other nations. As noted in a joint statement on October 19, 2018, such actions are a threat to our democracy, and identifying and preventing this interference is one of our highest priorities. On September 12, President Trump signed an executive order that makes clear the U.S. government will not hesitate to defend our electoral processes or punish those who attempt to undermine them.
Our agencies have been making preparations for nearly two years in advance of these elections and are closely engaged with officials on the ground to help them ensure the voting process is secure. Americans can rest assured that we will continue to stay focused on this mission long after polls have closed.
To learn more about efforts to protect America’s elections please visit: https://www.dhs.gov/topic/election-security.