Concern over political violence hangs over the 2020 midterm election

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 8:41 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - If the aftermath of the 2020 election is any indication, then the prospect of some violence before, during or after this election cycle is very real.

The concern is so high amongst LULAC, the League of United Latin America Citizens, that it has opened a 24-hour hotline for people to call if they feel they’re being intimidated, harassed or may be the victim of voter suppression.

Domingo Garcia, the president of the organization, says they have several examples of people being victims of voter shenanigans.

“We’ve seen official looking absentee applications or notices and the notices send people to a parking lot,” he said. “There is no polling place there.”

That was in Texas by the way.

Others who have shown up at people’s front doors in Hispanic neighborhoods claiming to be voter officials asking questions. They are not who they say they are.

Or in Arizona, where armed men wearing tactical gear, have been hanging around ballot drop boxes. The Department of Justice has called it voter intimidation and ordered them to stop.

“When you show up with an AK-47 or an AR-15 at a polling location, I’m sorry, I’m going to be a little bit worried about what that person may or may not do,” Garcia said.

He also says those incidents, for the most part, are happening in minority communities.

“Not since the 1960′s, 70′s, when we had Jim Crow laws, have we seen such a massive attempt to suppress voters across the country,” Garcia said.

Meantime, in Tucson and Pima County, the Sheriff, Chris Nanos, said while there is a possibility of some violence, he will not have his deputies on high alert or extra patrols.

“We do not plan to send armed guards to work the polling places,” Nanos said. “If there’s a problem at the polling place we encourage those pollsters and those individuals to contact us by 911.”

Still, the department will respond quickly to anyone who says the feel intimidated or harassed.

“We’re just not going to tolerate anything where someone feels like they are being intimidated,” he said. “That shouldn’t occur.”

Even so, with a close election with so much on the line, emotions are likely to run high which might cause some people to act irrationally.

“It is emotional, and it can be a little bit crazy out there,” he added.

And that craziness can cause things to spiral out of control, especially in an election where a few votes here or there can make a big difference.

“You never say I don’t like you, you might vote against me because of your skin color or your ethnic background therefore we’re going to stop you from voting,” Garcia said. “I mean that was supposed to be outlawed and now we’re seeing people trying to circumvent that through all this political trickery.”