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Election Officials Get Training on De-Escalation, Evading Active Shooters

A deluge of threats and intimidating behavior by conspiracy theorists and others upset over former President Trump's 2020 election defeat has prompted some election officials to fortify their operations as they ramp up for another divisive election, Reuters reports. A Reuters survey of 30 election offices found that 15 have enhanced security in various ways, from installing panic buttons to hiring extra security guards to holding active-shooter and de-escalation training. The survey shows how election officials are responding to threats in areas where the election will likely be decided.

Election officials are coordinating more closely with local law enforcement to respond quickly to disturbances. Many have also trained workers in de-escalating conflicts and evading active shooters. Until recently, such threats to safety were seen as hypothetical in a country that has seen few instances of election-related violence since the civil rights battles of the 1960s, when the presence of armed officers sometimes intimidated rather than reassured Black voters. Now those risks are seen as real, said Tammy Patrick of the Democracy Fund, a nonpartisan group founded by entrepreneur and Democratic donor Pierre Omidyar. "The likelihood that they could occur has definitely increased, so everyone is taking that to heart," Patrick said. Election officials in 12 states, including some who have paid for moderate security improvements, said bureaucratic hurdles have prevented their receipt of enough money to make desired upgrades. The Justice Department has investigated more than 1,000 messages to election workers since the 2020 election, including more than 100 that could warrant prosecution.


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