MILWAUKEE - Voter intimidation is on state and local law enforcement’s mind, but that there’s no reason to believe casting your ballot this election is under threat this Election Day.
And a group that tracks global conflict would agree, despite it putting Wisconsin and several other key swing states in a ‘high risk’ category for illegal militia activity before, during and after Election Day.
From the pandemic restriction protests to those calling for social justice, added with increased militia activity – including a recently foiled plot to kidnap Michigan's governor – a group that tracks political violence across the globe says states, like Wisconsin, are at a high risk this election year.
"So all these factors really pushed Wisconsin to make the list and these are indicators that we see pointing to how militia activity might be increasing," Roudabeh Kishi said.
Kishi is a researcher with Armed Conflict Location & Event Data – ACLED.
It, along with the group Militiawatch, authored a report last week listing five states, including Wisconsin at highest risk of increased militia activity before, during and after election day…
Kishi says the report isn’t intended to alarm or deter people from voting, but to arm voters with knowledge.
"It’s really about people being informed and not playing into the hands of feeding into this intimidation," he said.
The perennial swing state playing host to the presidential candidates Friday ahead of Tuesday's election…
More than 1.7 million ballots already cast for the 2020 general election are more than half the number tallied in 2016…
President Trump has encouraged a fascist extremist group to "stand back and stand by," later trying to walk back the comments. He also called for an "army" of poll watchers and has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, drawing a rebuke from both parties on Capitol Hill.
"This is a heated campaign and making sure that people are able to cast their ballots without any interference and without fear or intimidation is a fundamental part of our democratic system," Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said.
Kaul emphasizing early voting has gone smoothly and there’s no indication of a threat from militias come Election Day.
And that people who wish to observe Wisconsin's transparent election process can do so. But that instances of election interference or voter intimidation will not be tolerated…
"So I'm confident that voters in Wisconsin will be able to vote safely, but we are also preparing because this is a tense environment that we’ve been in over the last many months," Kaul said.
And a tense environment that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.