Election Week Security
With the upcoming election next Tuesday, November 3, 2020, the Jewish Federation of Broward County, Office of Community Security would like you to be aware of some information that may assist you. Although there is no known threat to the Jewish community, the general consensus among security professionals and the intelligence community suggests that there may be isolated violence from some extremist groups. To add to this, suspected Russian actors have allegedly spoofed emails that appear threatening, advising you to vote for their candidate and claiming to be from a right-wing extremist group.
The information is intended to provide situational awareness, especially in regard to activities that may be related to the 2020 election, and which could either impact the Jewish community or where the community itself could be targeted. As in past events of civil unrest, the potential exists for indirect or secondary impact to Jewish community assets and locations such as vandalism, damage, or disruption of operations. Individual white supremacist extremists and other individual domestic terrorist actors with personalized ideologies, including those based on grievances against a target’s perceived or actual political affiliation, policies, or worldview, are believed to pose the greatest threat of lethal violence.
U.S.-based white supremacist extremists, far-right extremist groups and left-wing extremist groups have escalated their efforts to spread propaganda and incitements to violence over the past several months. Furthermore, violent extremists from across the spectrum have demonstrated their willingness to participate in violent conflict with their perceived enemies, often using protest activity as a means to avoid being apprehended by law enforcement. The following are just a few examples of extremist-related violence:
- On 10/20/20, a rally held by a group known as Jews for Trump while in a vehicle convoy through Manhattan was confronted by an opposing side. The scuffle became hostile, numerous fights broke out, and several arrests were made by the New York City police department.
- On 10/8/20, 13 members of a militia based in Michigan were arrested for an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. According to the affidavit, the group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient. It was later reported that the group also considered kidnapping Virginia Governor Ralph Northam due to the state's strict lockdown orders.
- On 9/17/20, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned the House Committee on Homeland Security that a majority of domestic terrorism threats have been posed by white supremacist extremists and added that Russia has been conducting a "very active" campaign to spread disinformation, interfere with the 2020 election, and undermine the U.S. democracy.
- On 9/3/20, two members of the extremist movement Boogaloo Boys were arrested in Minnesota for providing material support to the terrorist group, Hamas. They also revealed their violent plans to target law enforcement and government agencies in communications with an informant acting as a member of Hamas.
- On 8/29/20, Aaron "Jay" Danielson was shot dead in Portland, Oregon by a self-identifying member of Antifa following a clash between the right-wing group, Patriot Prayer, and Antifa and other left-wing groups. The shooter, Michael Reinoehl, was killed by gunfire as U.S. Marshals attempted to arrest him in connection with the shooting of Danielson.
- Since early May 2020, multiple individuals have utilized COVID-19 restrictions to justify attacks or threats of lethal violence targeting critical infrastructure, essential business personnel, and law enforcement. A range of violent extremists have used online platforms and social media to capitalize on concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging violence against minorities and promoting violence against the government or critical infrastructure, to include our community. Some social media users have encouraged spreading COVID-19 within minority communities, including the Jewish community.
While many ideologically-based grievances predate current events and have spanned multiple election seasons, violence related to government efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst otherwise ongoing lawful protests have likely exacerbated the typical election season threat environment.
At this time, there are currently no known credible threats directed at Jewish institutions or organizations as it relates to the current social and political atmosphere or related extremist activity surrounding the 2020 elections. However, the Jewish community may be affected by rogue actors encouraged by or acting on behalf of the heightened emotions surrounding the election, which may drive an elevated threat environment. It is possible that violent extremists will continue to target individuals or institutions that represent symbols of their grievances, as well as grievances based on political affiliation or perceived policy position, which increases the potential of politically or ideologically motivated threats against the Jewish community. Past efforts of individuals motivated by extremist ideologies have targeted Jewish institutions, organizations, and interests.
The following information is designed to assist you throughout the remainder of time through and after election day:
- Although masks are required by ordinance to vote in Broward County (see the attached BC Supervisor of Elections statement), please do not confront anyone not wearing a mask. There may be “anti-maskers” protesting as well. Notify the supervisor at the polling place where you are voting. In an emergency, call 911.
- Be aware of any voter intimidation and DO NOT confront anyone but instead call police. No candidate signage or voter solicitation can take place closer than 150 feet from an entrance to a polling location.
- Firearms, even with a concealed weapons permit, are NOT allowed in a polling location. The exceptions to this rule are, law enforcement officers on official business or law enforcement officers who are authorized to vote while on duty.
- Do not confront protestors regardless of the views you may have. Avoiding conflict is one of the best ways to stay safe.
Please review the attached documents for additional information. Should you have any questions or concerns or wish to report an anti-Semitic incident, please call the Jewish Federation of Broward County, Office of Community Security at:
954-252-6955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org