It is becoming increasingly more probable by the day that no clear, uncontested victor will be chosen on election day, November third, twenty-twenty. Since March, attorneys have filed more than three hundred election cases in state and federal courts. Most of the lawsuits have to do with mail-in voting. Neither side is willing to concede. Anything short of an undeniable landslide victory will be contested on a micro level in the courts and at a macro level as candidates claim victories large and small, force ballots to be counted in their entirety, or seek to stop the ballot counting. Why is this important to us as a prepper? Believe us, we would like to focus on other threats, other preparedness topics, and not be a part of the political discussions, but we have a responsibility to alert you to the most pressing threats to your safety. This election cycle and the days leading up to the scheduled inauguration on January twentieth will be tumultuous, filled with strife, and could threaten you or your family’s safety. You need to be aware of these threats. In this blog we will examine the day-by-day possibilities and outcomes, so you can understand the most immediate threats to your safety.
Moves by Trump or Biden to Inflame the Populace
Hundreds of experts on both sides of the aisle have role played possible election outcomes scenarios and determined that there is a high degree of likelihood that this election will be marked by a chaotic legal and political landscape. There is almost unanimous certainty that President Trump will contest the result, if not favorable, by both legal and extra-legal means. This can take the form of rallying his base to protest or try to shut down vote counts in states where he holds an early lead, to court cases seeking to invalidate mail-in ballots, to declarations of winning and utilizing federal forces to stop vote counts and seize ballots. Nothing is off the table, really.
Because of the larger than typical mail-in ballots this year, and nearly half of Biden supporters have expressed that they intend to vote in this manner versus ten percent of Trump supporters, we may not know the clear winner of the contest until well after election night. When no clear winner emerges in battleground states, the opportunity for lawsuits, misinformation, polarizing media, disputes around ballot counting, and conflicts among citizens all provide the opportunity for campaigns to continue contesting the election results.
With election results being held up and questioned, new congressional members being sworn in, typically on January third, may also be held in abeyance. This would leave Congress without the clear authority to determine contested results and would kick the determination to a conservative-leaning nine Supreme Court justices through the legal cases already filed and the hundreds more expected to be filed on election night and the days thereafter. In a case where nine judges are determining the outcome of one-hundred-fifty million voters and an electoral college on a case-by-case basis or through consolidation of cases, any ruling counter to the popular vote would likely result in the widespread rebellion of the masses and a countering, supportive force.
Already, groups like Hold the Line, have been established with a plan to do everything from taking to the streets, to shutting down commerce and businesses, to organizing private and public sector work stoppages and walkouts. Plans in this election cycle to prevent the counting of votes are already in place. Plans to enforce the counting of all ballots are already in place, but that’s just the popular vote. The electoral college and faithless electors who might vote contrary to the popular vote is a reality as well. This, too, would likely boil over into the streets. It’s not just political moves by Trump, though, which could inflame the populace. If Biden were to lose the popular vote or electoral vote, the party would decry voter intimidation and voter suppression. Whatever happens, short of a clear landslide for either candidate, we are probably looking at left, right, and apolitical opportunists wreaking havoc on our city streets.
Fortunately, the U.S. election system is relatively resilient and guided by strict legal procedures, so we can expect the uncertainty, as tense as it may be, to unfold with distinct phases. Those phases encompass: when the polls close, the hours after the polls close, the days after the polls close, the weeks after the polls close, and the months after the polls close. As dire as it may seem, most experts agree that we will swear in a duly elected commander in chief on January twentieth.
When the Polls Close
There have always been minor problems at polling locations which, all totaled, amount to very little in the overall vote. There are always ballots received by mail or absentee which do not comply with the requirements and are therefore discarded. Often we hear of voting machines being temporarily offline or long lines being turned away. This year, all of those things will be greater, and lawsuits and appeals to courts to keep polling locations open longer or to count ballots postmarked by election day and so forth will all be a part of the mix and noise.
Add to that this year’s poll watchers, who may take it upon themselves to go to polling locations under the guise of watching but also brandishing firearms or politically affiliated garb or flags, and you have the potential for multiple conflict zones throughout the United States. Each party will react differently to each incident of conflict, but one thing is assured: one or both of the candidates will declare themselves the winner, even before all the votes are counted. Once street protests over the outcome of the election begin, they may be hard to turn off. Any federal crackdown similar to the protests in Washington D.C. or Portland would probably be viewed as an overreach by one side and a call to arms by the other. The vast majority of Americans don’t want a civil war, but it only takes a minority of individuals to start one.
Changes in voting behavior and reporting patterns in recent years have led to what political scientists have taken to calling the “blue shift” or “red mirage”—a rush of Republican votes reported early that give way to more Democratic votes as more jurisdictions and ballots are counted. Speculation on why this occurs ranges from Republicans simply being the earliest to vote to some Democratic last-minute effort to swing the vote. It is highly likely that one or both candidates will declare themselves the winner based upon early results. Lone wolves or organized groups may decide to act upon these declarations of victory, and without all the votes being counted take it upon themselves to stop vote counting. When the polls close, the chaos may only just be beginning.
The Hours After the Polls Close
In the hours after the polls close, one or both of the candidates will probably declare themselves the winner, even though all the ballots in every state will not have been entirely counted. During this post-election period expect organized and unorganized groups on both the left and right to mobilize and wreak havoc. Whether that’s arming up and seizing control of capital buildings or vote counting locations, parading through the streets in a show of force, or riots and looting, physical altercations are a certainty. Clashes between citizens and police or federal forces may also be a possibility. Clashes between armed individuals with an assertion of protecting the order will clash with protestors. Protestors or rioters will respond, in kind, and escalate the conflict. Federal and local police forces will be deployed, and, well, you see how this continues.
In this post-election time, it probably isn’t a good idea to express party affiliation if you hope to keep a low profile and stay out of the political fray. We could see the justice department intervening to investigate voting irregularities or suppress protests, and this will just add fuel to the fires. The legal impact of such investigations, regardless of if they led to criminal charges or uncovered legitimate fraud, would be insignificant compared to the real impact on the public debate around the election.
The Days After the Polls Close
If we somehow manage to escape the armed and violent conflicts of election day, the days after the polls close, could be calm in this regard. Squabbles about vote counts and which ballots should be considered valid or invalid will be fought in courtrooms and counting offices. Undoubtedly, thousands and thousands of ballots will arrive late by mail and these will be of keen interest in cases in battleground states or other places where the count is close.
States which clearly voted in one direction will likely not feel any tremendous friction from these cloistered court battles. After all, at the end of the day, California will have likely voted Blue, and Alaska will have voted Red. Long-standing single party streaks are common in some states. The real conflicts will be centered in states where the vote count is narrow and the electoral count is high.
In these controversial states, governors and legislators could force electorates to cast votes contrary to the public vote. This could foment further conflicts among the population. The biggest challenge to come out of the pandemic will be simply the sheer volume of absentee and mail-in votes likely to land in states that have little experience carrying out large-scale vote-by-mail operations. This might lead to confusion, slow returns, overwhelmed local officials, and misplaced ballots.
Legitimate fraud could be uncovered, vote counters could be intimidated or attacked, courts or the justice department could step in to seize uncounted ballots, stop, or start up again the vote counting, and either candidate, again, could declare victory. With each of these possibilities, conspiracy theories will be formed and cultivated, and those theories may provoke action in their believers.
Finally, hackers could undermine the perception of a legitimate and fair election. Regardless of whether they actually gain access to any election information, dox anyone, or change any data, the mere suggestion that they have is enough in the current climate for either party to seize upon in their argument. The perception of fraud would be amplified in the media, and the average American citizen, perhaps already disillusioned with the process, could very well be pushed over the edge.
The Weeks After the Polls Close
In the weeks after it becomes more complicated at the bureaucratic and procedural level. These complications will be primarily confined to the states with narrow margins. State or local officials may refuse to certify results, electors in the electoral college may cast their vote opposite the will of the people they represent, and political conflicts will continue to play out in the courtrooms.
At local levels and in your community, the leaders will undoubtedly be calling for calm and patience, while these battles play out on a national stage and through the media and the halls of government.
Any minor conflicts will have likely burned themselves out, but people will continue to mobilize in controversial states, protest around courthouses and capitol buildings, and seek to influence judicial decisions.
One or both candidates may declare themselves victor, again, during this stage; but it isn’t likely that either will concede the presidency if there remains even a slim path to numerical victory.
The Months After the Polls Close
Most politicians and experts do agree that by January twentieth there will be a president inaugurated. The secret service and the nuclear codes and the military all walk with that inaugurated president. So the opportunity for refusing to accept results passes at that point in the process; however, the population may still not accept the results and that’s a long seventy-eight days between. The electoral college vote is a pro forma duty, meaning it’s really meant to be a formality to satisfy minimum requirements. It meets on December fourteenth. If their vote aligns well with the popular vote, there isn’t much arguing to be done by a losing candidate.
In the months after the polls close, however, the president will still face the threat of Covid-nineteen, may become incapacitated or die, will need to unify the people, and remain strong and appear to have America’s support to put up a strong front to those other nation’s that would love to see us further unravel, divide, and implode. If the president becomes incapacitated between the electoral college and January sixth when congress meets to accept and certify the results, the vice president would be sworn in as president.
A constitutional crisis would occur if congress has to choose a president out of all the possible scenarios. In the event of a tied electoral college, two-sixty-nine to two-sixty-nine, each state would be able to cast one vote in the house, and the presidency would likely fall to whichever party controls the majority of state delegations. Right now, Republicans hold four more votes– twenty-six to twenty-two. The power may shift with the election as new members of the house take their seats, unless some members are locked in contested elections and cannot be sworn in on January fifth or so. There are a number of too-close-to-call races out there in battleground states to really know how this would play out, or how people might receive the president being selected by congress.
If the population is relatively calm, if other countries don’t try to assert their power over smaller countries while America’s attention is focused inward, if we are not attacked overseas or by foreign provocateurs on our own soil, if the election is a landslide in any one direction, we may see a calm as average Americans just find themselves rightly fatigued by the entire process. Whoever the president is they will have a very divided nation on their hands to deal with, this is for certain.
What You Should Do
With the potential of global conflicts increased, with the threat of foreign interference, with both foreign and domestic agent provocateurs, is there anything you can do to increase your safety on election day and in the weeks that follow? The answer is yes. First, know your polling locations. If you voted early, avoid them. If you are going to them, be early and remain hyper-vigilant. Watch for any unusual activities and report it immediately to authorities. While not all states ban guns near polling locations, nearly all states ban the carrying of firearms in schools and government buildings, where many polling places are located. That being said, know your varying routes to and from your polling location.
If violence erupts anywhere in the country, don’t rush to a conclusion before all of the facts are in. A good deal of finger-pointing will be going on, but you should try to keep a level head and stay above the fray. Any incident, even those that look very specific in nature, could be an extended operation by a foreign agent or government. Foreign trolls and bots will capitalize upon any incident and create further suspicion and conspiracy theories. Know that this will happen. Any incident may actually be started by one group but only to blame another. Don’t take anything at face value, but continue to question everything until the facts are clear.
Second, know where your family is on election day and in the days and weeks after if you are in a hotbed area. Don’t get caught in a situation where you don’t know where your wife, husband, daughter, son, mother, or brother is when something happens. If you are spending your time searching for them and cellular service is offline, you will not be able to go to the third thing you must do, which is to lockdown. Only take necessary trips out, especially if there is considerable unrest in your community. Be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time in the safety of your home or apartment.
Fourth, prepare a bug-out, grab-and-go emergency bag, and keep it handy. If you have been following this channel, we have talked about these before, so hopefully, you have made one to prepare yourself. If you are kept from the safety of your home following an incident for an extended period of time, make sure you have any medicines you may need. Have a bottle of water or two, maybe a high-calorie protein drink, and some energy bars. You can leave the bag in the trunk of your car or carry it with you, but keep it handy until you are certain that any election period threats have passed.
Finally, review your home’s preparations and security. There are several videos on this channel that will help you form your own checklist of supplies.
We really hope that everything goes as smoothly as possible and a president is chosen with little to no conflict, but we will be honest with you, there are quite a few indicators that this may not be the case. We sincerely hope that this is the last blog we have to make about the threats we face in such a contentious political season, but we really felt that this video needed to be made, because of politically driven civil unrest, foreign intervention, and civilians turning on civilians, sadly, are the biggest threats we all currently face in America.
However you navigate the tumultuous weeks ahead, try to lead with your heart, and use all the common sense of your head. At the end of the day, when the fires of our division are all put out and we are not forced to live and breathe politics, we are still all Americans.
We would love to hear your plan for election day and the seventy-eight days until inauguration day.
As always, stay safe out there.