As we get closer to the midterm elections, there’s been an uptick of anxiety around the safety of poll workers and various groups who intend to watch voters cast their ballots. The New York Police Department will require “elevated vigilance” as we get closer to November 8th, CNN reports.
The NYPD has not pointed out substantial threats to polling sites in New York City or any candidates. However, the police department cites an uptick in online comments from extremist groups encouraging violence against government officials, judges, and politicians. Some users claimed to be official election inspectors and poll precinct delegates. The NYPD highlighted a couple of specific messages within the report that gave them cause for alarm.
From ABC News:
On Aug. 26, the bulletin states, a user on a pro-Donald Trump message board “encouraged individuals to ‘show up’ in ‘disguise’ at ‘one of these political rallies with a ghost gun and shoot your shot.’”
Two weeks earlier, according to the bulletin, an online user targeted the elections department in Arizona’s Maricopa County, writing in one message: “Fire the building. Execute the traitors trying to leave it.”
Therefore, they are wary of the “complex” threat environment that has led to an uptick of threats around the country in recent months. This year, a task force put together by the Justice Department had more than 1,000 contacts “reported as hostile or harassing.” 11% of those contacts“met the threshold for a federal criminal investigation.”
“Racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists and anti-government, anti-authority violent extremists will continue to prioritize the targeting of political rallies, voting sites, poll workers, and election officials, necessitating elevated vigilance as the U.S. midterms elections begin,” the report by the NYPD Intelligence Bureau states.