Armed Poll Watchers, Voter Intimidation, And Voter Suppression

This coming election is set to be the most divisive in the last half century at the very least, possibly the most divisive since before the Civil War. This is exacerbated by concerns of voter fraud, among other things.

No one trusts their fellow Americans not to do something shady to help their guy win, or so it seems.

As a result, a lot of people will be watching their polling places very closely. Some of those people will be carrying firearms because, well, it’s 2020 and everyone is losing their damn minds.

It seems, though, the fact that they might be armed is considered a problem.

Voting rights advocates and state officials are on high alert over fears that U.S. polling stations could attract the same strain of partisan violence and civil unrest that erupted on American streets this year, fueled by a deadly pandemic, outrage over police brutality and one of the most contentious elections ever.

Anti-government extremists and other armed civilians have flocked to protests against racial injustice and COVID-19 lockdowns. Paramilitary group members are accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor before the election. President Donald Trump encouraged one far-right extremist group to “stand back and stand by” and called for an army of “poll watchers” to keep tabs on polling places.

While gun rights advocates say fears of violence at the polls are unfounded, the toxic political atmosphere and the prospect of armed poll monitors have some worried it will keep voters from the polls and affect the election.

“Just as an American, the fact that we’re having this conversation is absolutely terrifying to me,” said American University professor Kurt Braddock, who researches extremist groups. “It’s a testament to how far the extreme right has come with getting into this conversation and impacting the way that politics get done here.”

However, are armed citizens watching the polls an actual threat to the voting process? Well, people who are wearing regular clothing and simply carrying a firearm on their hip are no such thing. Further, the left has argued even more obviously threatening behavior doesn’t count as voter intimidation.

In particular, we have the Obama administrations’ dropping of charges against the New Black Panther Party’s efforts in 2008. These were people wearing paramilitary uniforms and standing outside of the precinct with clubs. It was clear they were there to try and intimidate certain parties into not voting.

Guys with holstered firearms? Not so much.

Yet in all this concern, there’s no mention of Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

After all, Whitmer issued an order banning guns from polling places. She, like many others, know that gun rights advocates don’t tend to go places they can’t carry their firearms. As such, it can be argued that this is actually an attempt at voter suppression. Where’s the mention of that by those who are so concerned with the electoral process?

Honestly, if those with guns were supporting Biden, you’d likely not hear a single peep out of anyone. Left-wing extremism continues to be ignored or glossed over while supposed right-wing extremists are treated like an existential threat to the United States and our elections. For them, the fact that this is from the right is the real issue.

They want to bully gun owners into staying quiet and staying away so they can run the table, then take away our gun rights.

Sorry, but no.