Gov. Jared Polis wouldn’t say if he is a target of similar militia groups that were foiled this week in an attempt to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and start a second civil war, but he is aware of concerns of violence with the upcoming general election.
The Denver office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations is aware of potential issues, too.
On Friday, both spoke out about the matter, saying that election security is of paramount concern, not only against any form of a violent reaction to whoever wins the presidential race, but also in voter intimidation.
“The FBI Denver Division is committed to ensuring a safe and secure election and protecting our electoral process from interference by criminals,” Michael Schneider, the FBI special agent in charge of the office, said Friday, the day ballots for the Nov. 3 election were mailed to voters. “It is a top priority for our field office. We will continue to engage our law enforcement partners and election security officials and will swiftly investigate any allegations of election crimes.”
Schneider announced that his office was starting a new social media campaign to increase the public’s awareness about threats in the upcoming election, and how voters can help.
That campaign is to focus on crimes the FBI is charged with investigating, including campaign finance crimes, voter or ballot fraud, civil rights violations, cyber threats and foreign interference in the election.
Nationally, FBI officials told the Associated Press last week that the agency is establishing command centers around the country and has been conducting drills with select law enforcement agencies in a number of states to help it respond more quickly in case violence erupts or there is any threat of voter intimidation at the polls.
Polis, too, said state officials are aware of potential concerns, but declined to provide any specific details nor say if there is evidence that something is brewing in Colorado.
“The Colorado Department of Public Safety is in regular contact with local law enforcement agencies to make sure that all Coloradans are safe,” Polis said. “That includes me, that includes you, it includes our properties across the state. We obviously can’t make any specific comments on any particular threats or concerns, but what I think is most important at this juncture is to focus on what unites us rather than divides us, our belief in the constitutional principles of our founding fathers.”
The governor is already under attack, of sorts.
For the second time in as many years, there is another attempt to recall him from office, this time over criticism on how he’s handled the state’s response to the coronavirus.
That new effort, called Recall Polis 2020, cites some of the same reasons as last year why he should be removed from office: his support of the national popular vote, a “red flag” law to remove firearms from the mentally ill and alleged attempts to destroy the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
The new recall effort also cites his stay-at-home orders during the height of the pandemic, which shut down much of the state’s economy.
Last year’s effort fell flat, and according to a recent poll on the governor’s handling of the pandemic, Polis’ actions have been viewed favorably.
That poll, conducted last week by SurveyUSA of 1,300 Coloradans the first week of this month, shows that 61% of those surveyed either approved or strongly approved of Polis’ response to COVID-19, with only 8% saying they were not sure.