Re-posted from 2016
October, I sent a letter to various legislators and the governor
expressing my concern for the safety of election officials and voters at
the polls. (I'll tell you about that and the responses I got, later.)
That letter was also published, here in the Insider. and in the Hartford Courant.
the rash of terrorists events since then, both here and abroad, my
concerns have deepened. In the US alone, we've seen, according to The Johnson Report,
eight terror attacks from Nov 4, 2015 thru July 7 of this year. These
attacks left seventy seven dead and one hundred seven wounded. These
figures include the terrorists. (The Ft. Meyers FL shooting is not
Five of these terrorist attacks are attributed to Islamic extremists, one to the "right" wing and two to the "left" wing.
4 Nov 2015 in Merced, California, 1 person dead and 4 wounded when a student
stabbed two students and two staff at the University of California;
attacker was shot and killed by police.
27 Nov 2015 in Colorado
Springs, Colorado 3 people were left dead and 9 wounded. A gunman killed two civilians and one police officer
outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, also injuring 4 civilians and 5 police
3 Dec 2015 in San Bernardino, California
16 were killed and 23 wounded when two attackers opened fire at a county employee meeting and
Christmas party; both attackers were killed hours later in a shootout with
police in which 2 police officers were injured.
7 Jan 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2, including the gunman, were wounded when a man shot and injured a police officer.
11 Feb 2016 in Columbus, Ohio
1 person was killed and 4 were injured in a machete attack at a restaurant; the attacker was shot and
killed by police when he attacked police at the end of a car chase.
12 Jun 2016 in Orlando, Florida
50 people died and 53 were wounded in a shooting attack at a nightclub, carried out by Omar Mateen.
7 Jul 2016 at Bristol, Tennessee 1 person was left dead and 3 wounded in a shooting attack killed one civilian,
injured one police officer and three civilians.
On that same day in Dallas, Texas
5 were killed and 9 wounded in a sniper attack that killed 5 police officers, injured 8 police officers and two
(sic) civilians at protest rally.
Now, according to the UK Mirror,
ISIS is warning of attacks in London and other world capitols,
including Washington DC. Whether or not these threats are deemed to be
"credible" is beside the
point; history and past experience should teach us that ISIS and its
sympathizers rarely if ever reveal their spcific plans ahead of time.
It would be foolish to assume that such horrific attacks as have been
carried out in Europe, such as the recent truck massacre in Nice, France
or the beheading of a priest at Notre Dame can't happen again, here in the good ol' USA.
is vast and the number of potential targets are endless. Terrorists,
whether imported ISIS soldiers or "home grown" sympathizer or just plain
kooks, could strike (again) anywhere, at any time. The United States
has 20,000 miles of border and coastline. (The Continental 48 cover 3,718,710
sq. miles.) It is impossible for FBI, ICE and the CIA to capture every
potential terrorist or prevent every attempt at terror, especially when
we have an administration that prevents ICE from doing its job, and in
fact, has released countless illegal aliens with violent criminal
records back into the community. (See Casey Chadwick) FBI Director, James Comey has stated before Congress that it is impossible to screen Syrian "refugees" for criminal records or terror connections.
Terrorists Strategery and Tactics
idea behind terrorism is to create fear, chaos and mayhem along with
death and destruction. Terror tactics have included mass shootings like
in Orlando, attacks with knifes, axes and machetes as we've seen in
Germany and France, home made bombs like those used in the Boston
Marathon massacre and automobiles used to run people down as was done
recently in Nice, Fr.
are rapidly approaching what could perhaps be the most contentious and
divisive elections in American history. There has already been one assassination attempt, though not terror related, against presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
might terrorists create the greatest amount of death, terror and chaos
with the least effort? By attacking our polls on election day. A
friend suggested that such an attack would more likely occur in
metropolitan areas, rather than small towns, such as ours. Perhaps he
is right, perhaps not.
a strategic standpoint, it would make sense to conduct a series of
attacks, not just in metropolitan areas, but in the smaller cities and
towns, villages, burgs and rural areas. It would make sense to at least
start these attacks early in the eastern time zone, where the news of
these attacks would spread westward before polls opened. When news of
the attack reaches voters to our west, (and to late-risers in the east)
it might very well serve to discourage voters from going to the polls at
all, disrupting our election process.
Terrorists would send the message that no American is safe, anywhere, anytime.
again, it may well have just the opposite effect; it may spur people to
get out and vote in defiance of the terrorists, though given the
delicate snowflakes we have been raising over the last couple decades,
it would most likely only be the older generations, still retaining the
American Spirit of Resistance and Defiance, that would respond en mass,
in such a manner.)
By Being Pro-Active, We Can Protect the Polls
legislation allowing poll workers to carry arms while on duty not
happening until 2017, if at all; and with statutes barring police
presence at the polls, (not to mention the cost of it) how can we, as
citizens, be pro-active in providing security for our fellow citizens on
By individual citizens stepping forward and forming Poll Watch groups in the same vein as Neighborhood Watch groups.
Before going any further, let me say; "Do not violate any laws; period".
There are only two laws that pertain to our purposes; 1) No guns are
allowed in a school zone, any other designated "gun free" zone, or
anyplace where the proprietor has posted a sign baring the possession of
weapons; 2) Anyone not voting must remain at least 75 feet from the
entry to the poll. This 75' zone is clearly marked at each polling
If you live in a state other than Connecticut, make sure you understand the laws of your state.
might this work? If possible, form a group of friends, relatives and
neighbors to keep an eye on the poll in your voting precinct. Polls
open at 6:00AM and close at 8:00 PM; workers show up at 5:15 AM and are
there until around 9:00 PM. It's a long day; work in shifts, preferably
with two persons per shift, in different spots. If you cannot cover a
polling location for the entire day, cover it for the time your schedule
and commitments allow. Who knows; you may be in the right place at the
the poll opens, go in, cast your ballot and introduce yourself to the
moderator. Tell him who you are and what you are doing. Prior to
election day, inform your local registrar of voters and/or town clerk of
Local law enforcement officials need to know what is going on so you are not suspected of being up to no good. This
is important; you don't want police to waste valuable time
investigating you. Inform your local chief of police. Let the chief
know what vehicle/s you and other Watchers will be in, along with the
license plate number/s and the approximate times you intend to be
there. Expect to be visited by the occasional patrol officer. This is a
good thing; additional police presence in the area is a deterrent.
sort of tactics you engage in will depend on the location and
circumstance of your precinct. I'm not a tactician, but I think a
little common sense will suffice. Position yourself in such a vantage
point as to be able to see the poll entry and parking lot, if possible.
Keep your cell phone at the ready at all times. Be diligent and aware
of your surroundings; who is coming and going and so forth. Watch for
suspicious activity and behavior. You may want to walk around the
building, from time to time.
constitutes "suspicious activity"? I guess it's like pornography; you
know it when you see it. Obviously, someone sneaking out of the woods
and lurking behind the dumpster, might be suspicious. People running
out of the building in a panic or multiple males wearing ski masks and
running into the building would raise suspicion.
Use your own good judgement.
There are ten voting locations in Middletown and hundreds around the state. The odds of something happening at your
poll are slim but the odds of something happening sometime, somewhere
grow with each passing day. Let's not play the odds and take chances.
We live in a new world, one fraught with danger from without and
within. An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.
letter from last October was sent to my senator, Dante Bartolomeo, and
representative Matt Lesser. It was cc'd to the governor. A separate
letter went to Senator Joe Markley. In the letters, I said that I was
an election moderator and was concerned about the safety of the other
poll workers and voters. I pointed out the fact that of the polls here
in Connecticut, most are in schools, which are so-called "gun free"
zones and that 92% of mass shooting since 2009 have occurred in "gun free" zones. In other words: what better target could a terrorist or a mentally ill
person bent on destruction choose to commit their mayhem?
letter also pointed out that police are not permitted in a polling
location unless they are responding to a specific incident. This is
clearly stated in the Moderator's Hand Book, which is derived from
I asked them to consider introducing legislation allowing poll workers
who have valid pistol permits to concealed carry while on duty.
Markley though it was a good idea and pledged to introduce legislation
in the 2017 regular session; it could not be done in the 2016 short
session. Malloy and Bartolomeo did not respond, and Lesser pledged to
make all polls "gun free" zones. His entire, absurd response appears, below.
Lesser's ridiculous response, followed by a scalding reply:
Dear Mr. Boylan,
Thanks for writing.
Existing law allows police to provide security at polling locations when there are security concerns.
partisan poll workers (who currently receive zero firearm training) to
carry firearms inside a polling location however could lead to voter
intimidation. (emphasis added)
I would absolutely not
support arming poll workers in schools and will investigate your
suggestion that there may be some locations where this is not already
Dear Rep. Lesser, et al,
Allow me to reiterate; law enforcement personnel are prohibited from being at a poll unless there is specific and immediate need for them to be there. This from
the Moderator's Handbook: Who May be in the Polls, Sec A10 pg A-11;
"Police Officers, Firefighters and EMS personnel, as necessary in performance of their official duties may enter a polling place." emphasis added
acts of violence are just that; random acts, and therefore cannot be
predicted. They can, however, be prevented; potential evil-doers who
know or suspect that their potential victims are armed are deterred by that knowledge; this is a proven fact.
Random acts of violence can be responded to. The police cannot be
everywhere at once; but, when armed, law abiding citizens, who are
willing to put themselves in harms way to protect their fellow Man, are
present, the response always ends badly for the evil-doer. When there
are no armed citizens or police present, which is usually the case,
things end badly for the unarmed citizens.
I don't understand why you would use the word "partisan", but I remind you that poll workers are bi-partisan, not partisan; Republican and Democrat, who put aside
partisanship to work together for the common purpose of "ensuring a
smooth and efficient experience for the voters as well as protecting the
integrity of the election".
As well, I reiterate; my request was for a bill that would allow poll workers who have pistol permits
to be armed while they are on duty. These people do have training,
training that is required by statute, in order to obtain a permit to
would not be objectionable to require additional training for permitted
poll workers who voluntarily wish to carry their personal firearms at
the poll. Nor would it be objectionable for any permitted voter to carry (concealed) their personal firearm, while voting.
far as your concern about voters being intimidated by armed poll
workers, voters would be unaware of it because the firearms would be
concealed. You are aware that there are many hundreds of thousands of
people in Connecticut who possess carry permits and who carry, usually
concealed, everywhere they go in the course of their daily lives where
they are otherwise not prohibited by law to do so. We pass them every
day at the grocery store, the hardware store, walking down the street,
As a matter of public safety, I ask you to reconsider.
Very truly yours,
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