Even before the 2020 presidential election, Republicans cautioned that changes to the election system were not only unconstitutional but would threaten the integrity of the vote as well. Now, just two weeks out from the midterms and after more than two years of calls to action, President Joe Biden is expected to issue a warning about the security of the nation’s election infrastructure.
Instead of heeding warnings or supporting legislative measures to bolster the systems in place, Democrats spent the better part of two years bashing conservatives as election deniers. Such behavior made it difficult to overlook the timing of the president’s upcoming bulletin following a press conference held Monday where the Department of Justice once again pointed to foreign governments as likely to blame for any possible issues that might occur.
As Politico reported, the bulletin is expected to draw attention to Russian and Chinese cyber threats in addition to “non-state actors,” along with the possibility of physical interference at election locations. During a press conference Monday, FBI Director Christopher Wray deflected from the convenient timing of the announcement and stated, “Malign foreign influence–whether it’s from the Chinese government, the Russian government or other governments–is not just an election-cycle issue, but a 365-day-a-year problem.”
The press conference went on to focus on other schemes on behalf of the Chinese government and arrests that have been made “for trying to obstruct a U.S. trial of a Chinese company…and trying to strong-arm a victim into returning to China.”
Two people have been arrested and 13 have been charged in three separate cases for allegedly taking part in malign schemes in the U.S. on behalf of China’s government. https://t.co/ZqjEmoj78o pic.twitter.com/pxGJ8ZDDRJ
— FBI (@FBI) October 24, 2022
However, Politico noted, “The internal administration concerns about election threats come days after a call was held between federal officials and local law enforcement personnel about the midterms, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.”
Furthermore, former counterterrorism chief at DHS John Cohen said, “We are now hearing reports of people surrounding ballot drop boxes, some even wearing tactical gear, and questioning people. Are the police prepared for that? They need to be. All of this is being driven by the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen.”
In fact, as the Associated Press reported, the “false narrative” about 2020 is precisely why security had to be increased around ballot drop boxes in Phoenix, AZ. Specifically in the suburb of Mesa on Friday, deputies had responded to a drop box where two armed individuals donned in masks and bulletproof vests had posted themselves seemingly to keep an eye on potential ballot harvesters.
Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer and chairman of the county board of supervisors Bill Gates released a joint statement, “Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County’s drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead they are leading to voter intimidation complaints.”
Additionally, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone stated, “Every day I’m dedicating a considerable amount of resources just to give people confidence that they can cast a vote safely, and that is absurd.”
Arizona state Sen. Kelly Townsend (R) who had encouraged concerned citizens to keep an eye out for ballot stuffing and to report any instances they witnessed tweeted Monday to clarify, “I should not have to say this but wearing tactical gear while watching a ballot drop box could be considered voter intimidation. Don’t do it.”
I should not have to say this but wearing tactical gear while watching a ballot drop box could be considered voter intimidation. Don’t do it.
— Kelly Townsend (@AZKellyT) October 24, 2022
She went on to write, “To be clear, I never said to intimidate anyone. I said to watch for ballot stuffing and if you see it get their license plate. This has already happened in Yuma and they wouldn’t of been caught if it had not been for citizens observing/reporting the illegal activity.”
To be clear, I never said to intimidate anyone. I said to watch for ballot stuffing and if you see it get their license plate. This has already happened in Yuma and they wouldn’t of been caught if it had not been for citizens observing/reporting the illegal activity.
— Kelly Townsend (@AZKellyT) October 24, 2022
While the specifics of Biden’s bulletin remain to be seen, Rep. James Comer (R-KY), ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee reacted to the announcement on Newsmax and told “Prime News” host Jenn Pellegrino, “The biggest problem in the last election was the loose absentee laws that the Secretaries of State put into place in the name of COVID, those have been fixed.”
He also suggested that this announcement could well be an attempt at “damage control” before the likely loss of control in Congress by the Democrats to Republicans and reminded, “They were the ones that first started saying that the election was rigged and that there were irregularities.”
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