The 2020 U.S. election cycle is unprecedented in many ways. In addition to taking place amidst a global pandemic, the U.S. entered this election cycle in a bitterly partisan landscape where even the question of how to have a free and fair election has been politicized. The tensions within this partisan landscape are further compounded by many warning signs:
- High levels of identity-based polarization not seen since the immediate aftermath of the Civil War
- Normalization of hate speech and dangerous speech in political and public rhetoric
- Divided media environment pushing competing narratives
- Widespread mis- and disinformation disseminated more broadly and rapidly than ever through social media
- Preemptive claims of election fraud and unwillingness to accept defeat
Experts and government agencies are warning about the dangers of violence as Americans are preparing for Inauguration. The FBI has received information indicating “armed protests” are being planned at all 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington, DC in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
On January 8th the FBI received information on an identified group calling for others to join them in ‘storming’ state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event POTUS is removed as President prior to Inauguration Day. This identified group is also planning to ‘storm’ government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump, on 20 January.
- Spread the news from confirmed sources only. Check three different credible sources before spreading information.
- Stay at home between January 16–21, do not attend large public gatherings.
- Ensure you have adequate supply of basic needs at home including food, water, batteries, prescription medicine, flash lights, etc.
- Ensure your cell phones are charged and you have extra portable chargers.
- Do not make travel plans during two weeks before and after inauguration. Restrict travel to emergencies only.
- Fill your car gas tank/charge your car.
- Take down partisan signs from outside of your homes, places of work and vehicles.
- Protect your equipment (computer, cell phones) for data security.
- If you receive a threatening message, immediately notify local law enforcement. Please also notify Afifa or Alphonso after ensuring your safety and notifying local law enforcement.
- Download Waze (Google Play, Apple) Use it for guidance when you are traveling. Waze provides real time user based guidance/alerts.
- Save all emergency contacts on your phone. Please keep a printed copy of all emergency phone numbers at a visible location.