There's an effort to recruit former U.S. Special Operations personnel to provide "armed security" at polling places in Minnesota on Election Day.
That's according to a Washington Post story published Friday and an Oct. 6 Facebook post from Tennesse-based security firm Atlas Aegis, which is seeking armed security guards for the November election and post-election support missions in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The Facebook post says the agents who are hired will "protect election polls, local businesses and residences from looting and destruction," noting it anticipates the job will "last well beyond the elections with 15 to 30 days of work," with the "antifas" cited as apparent reason they need to guard the polling places.
Atlas Aegis' website says its mission is to provide a level of security to its clients that's rarely seen outside U.S. Special Operations and employs former Navy SEALS, U.S. Army Special Forces and Rangers. The Facebook post says they're seeking former Special Operations forces with "Tier 1 and Tier 2" experience.
Bring Me The News has reached out to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison for comment on this seeing as there are laws that make it illegal in Minnesota for people other than voters and elections staff to be within 100 feet of polling places unless they are registered to be an election challenger, as well as laws prohibiting voter intimidation.
The Washington Post reached out to election officials in Minnesota and Minneapolis, who said they were not aware of the security firm's intentions to guard polling places and stressed state and federal laws.
“It’s not a good use of people’s time and money to arm themselves or others at or near a polling place,” Simon told the paper. “It’s not helping … Law enforcement on the state and federal level, with whom we are in constant touch, have a good handle on the situation.”
Anthony Caudle, co-founder and chairman of Atlas Aegis, told the Washington Post its client seeking the security guards is a "consortium of business owners and concerned citizens" in Minnesota who are worried that the rioting and destruction in the days after George Floyd was killed on May 25 by now-former Minneapolis police officers will happen again at the polling places.
Caudle said he wants to hire U.S. military personnel because they have experience in defusing situations and won't be seen unless there's "an issue" and having them at polling places would not intimidate voters.
“They’re there for protection, that’s it,” he told the paper. “They’re there to make sure that the antifas don’t try to destroy the election sites."
It is not clear why the businesses that hired the security firm think anti-fascists will attack polls in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security considers white supremacists the deadliest domestic terror threat in the country, not anti-fascists.
This comes as President Donald Trump has suggested military personnel could guard polling places to prevent against voter fraud, despite there being evidence that voter fraud rarely happens and laws that prohibit voter intimidation.
It also comes as President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have refused to say if they'll accept the results of the election and commit to a peaceful transfer of power if they're not re-elected.