“Militia groups and other armed non-state actors pose a serious threat to the safety and security of American voters,” the report said. “Throughout the summer and leading up to the general election, these groups have become more assertive, with activities ranging from intervening in protests to organizing kidnapping plots targeting elected officials.”
The other four states most at risk include Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Civil unrest is not an unusual phenomenon in Oregon. Following the police killing of George Floyd in May, Portland among other Oregon cities filled with protesters in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In Portland, the unrest lasted for more than 100 consecutive nights, sometimes peaceful and sometimes riotous. In college towns such as Corvallis, the protests were generally peaceful, but the likelihood of them starting up again is always a possibility as the election gets closer.
“Oregon has been the site of significant unrest in recent months involving demonstrators met by armed militias as well as state and federal forces,” the report said.
On several occasions, the protestors were met with resistance from militant groups, such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, and often those encounters turned dangerous, even resulting in the death of one militia group’s member – Aaron “Jay” Danielson. The accused shooter in that case, Michael Reinoehl, was killed by law enforcement officials just days afterwards.
Although many U.S. militias can be described as ‘latent’ in that they threaten more violence than they commit, several recently organized militias are associated with a right-wing ideology of extreme violence towards communities opposed to their rhetoric and demands for dominance and control.
While the long-running BLM protests against police brutality and systemic racism have continued, several Oregonians have led an increasing number of Trump rallies and “Back the Blue” rallies in support police officers since August.
With tensions high preceding the election, people across the country, including police departments, are preparing for potential protests and riots.
By Jessica Goddard