Adeola Akinremi in Washington DC
There are concerns of chaos across cities and suburbs in the United States as voters go to pollthis Tuesday to elect the next president of the world’s most powerful country in a tight race dogged by unprecedented controversies in America’s political history.
The Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, are running neck and neck in most battleground states.
The fears that some individuals may hang around polling stations with guns to intimidate voters in states with open carry laws became widespread, when militia groups wearing camouflage were seen in Georgia performing a rifle practice, hand-to-hand combat training and getting together for a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Trump had alleged during this campaign cycle that the election may be rigged, but the allegation has been described as lacking in substance by experts.
According to reports, the militia groups mobilized in readiness for the possibility of a stolen election this Tuesday and a Clinton win.
But what may be driving the militia to stage civil unrest in case Clinton wins the November 8election is the fear that their second amendment—the right to carry gun— may be taken away.
“They say they won’t fire the first shot, but they’re not planning to leave their guns at home, either,” New York Post reported.
Chris Hill, the leader of the Three Percent Security Force militia has told members of his group across the United States to monitor voting sites for signs of fraud.
“This is the last chance to save America from ruin,” Hill said. “I’m surprised I was able to survive or suffer through eight years of Obama without literally going insane, but Hillary is going to be more of the same,” Hill said.
Already, a number of Trump supporters have been spurred by the GOP candidate’s hate speeches to tweet negative words against Clinton as the most divisive election period nears conclusion.
Amdist the war game, courts have been intervening in some states to calm the nerve and protect citizens ahead of the Election Day.
In Ohio, where the Democratic Party took its case to court over voter intimidation, a federal court judge ordered a restrain against Donald Trump campaign and Republican supporter, Roger Stone, the leader of Stop the Steal, a campaign group working for the Republican.
The US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in a ruling on Friday by Judge James Gwin warned against “Hindering or delaying a voter or prospective voter from reaching or leaving the polling place.”
It also warned against participating in “unauthorized ‘poll watching'” activities, including “challenging or questioning voters or prospective voters about their eligibility to vote, or training, organizing, or directing others to do the same” and “interrogating, admonishing, interfering with, or verbally harassing voters or prospective voters.”
The ruling also barred campaigns and individuals from inquiring from voters “under the guise of the purported ‘exit polling’ or ‘citizen journalist’ operations organized and encouraged by Defendants Stone and Stop the Steal.”
According to the ruling anyone found to be engaged in intimidation or harassment inside or near Ohio polling places would face contempt of court charges.
However, the Trump campaign filed an appeal against the ruling yesterday morning at the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Democratic Party has filed several cases around the country alleging voter intimidation. Some states like Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are places where similar lawsuits have been filed.
The Associated press has said that the fear of violence has possibly informed the decision by some schools to announce closure on Tuesday to protect kids from attack.
Communities are choosing to move “polling places out of schools or cancel classes” over fears that “the ugly rhetoric of the campaign” could lead to violence erupting in school hallways, putting students in dangerous situations.
In the US, schools have been used regularly as polling places because of facilities such as parking space, accessibility for the handicapped and for their central locations.
State and local officials have said voting has been removed or classes canceled on Election Day at schools in Illinois, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere, while some states such as Maryland, Michigan, New York, New Jersey , Delaware, Hawaii and others have a ritual of suspending classes during elections.
Fears of cyber attack have also been rife in this year’s presidential election and the US government has said it was readying cyber attack in case hackers from Russia try to disrupt the elections.
“U.S. officials continue to express concern that Russia will use its cyber capabilities to try to disrupt next week’s presidential election. U.S. intelligence officials do not expect Russia to attack critical infrastructure — which many believe would be an act of war — but they do anticipate so-called cyber mischief, including the possible release of fake documents and the proliferation of bogus social media accounts designed to spread misinformation,” reports NBC news.
The US Government has continued to investigate possible attacks, including by ISIS and assuring citizens and residents of its plan to keep people out of harm’s way on the Election Day.