This year our elections are unprecedented. Many states are grappling with the pandemic and working with new voting methods, sometimes with a large turnout to boot. On top of this, the sitting President and VP refuse to promise a peaceful transition of power, and states across the country are handling lawsuits from Republicans and Democrats over mail-in ballots and counting methods. KUOW published a piece detailing more specifics on Washington.
The concern mostly lies in the period after the elections and before inauguration. This year, with so many lawsuits and contested rules, it will be unlikely that we will know the results of election on election night and possibly not for days or weeks afterwards. Democratic Party leadership has even prepared for the rare scenario that the House of Representatives will decide the election, an idea floated by Trump to remain in office.
And at the local level, about all Seattle Police will tell me right now is they’ve canceled time off for officers around the election time. Again, the real issue, I don’t think, is leading up to November 3. It’s that period of time after November 3, when things are up in the air, and they will be up in the air. There’s almost no question about it.KUOW, “Officials prepare for possible civil unrest in the wake of the election”
In particular, far-right extremists have claimed they will not accept the results and allege to be listening for dogwhistles from Donald Trump. Organizations like Proud Boys and III% have made news local and national for their mischievous, and sometimes violent, events since his election. Federal agents and far-right investigators have claimed to see an uptick in those advocating for violence, and even a civil war, sometimes referred to as the “boogaloo”. It has gone to an extreme that Michigan has seen large armed protests and a foiled kidnapping attempt of their governor.
Washington did not make the 5 states with high likelihood. That does not mean nothing will happen. These same groups have been seen in King County and elsewhere through the state: posting recruitment fliers, protesting Pride and Black Lives Matter, and bringing cameras along to create videos for their propaganda.
In addition, groups on the opposite side are preparing for the possibility of a coup, which aren’t soothed by Trump’s refusal for peaceful transition. Organizations like Choose Democracy are recommending residents form connections with neighbors and mobilize protest, strikes, and boycotts if votes aren’t counted or the election results aren’t conceded to. These organizations have very explicitly called for nonviolence.
The NYTimes reports nearly 76% of Americans fear the loss of democracy, a staggering number encompassing a broad political spectrum. This year’s election is one that will go down in the history books no matter the outcome.