Vote 2022: Connecticut FBI office stepping up fight against voter intimidation

With election-related violence on the rise, is it even safe to head to the polls? On Monday, the FBI’s Connecticut field office announced a new effort to prevent threats and voter intimidation.

News 12 Staff

Oct 31, 2022, 9:35 PM

Updated 632 days ago

Share:

With election-related violence on the rise, is it even safe to head to the polls? On Monday, the FBI’s Connecticut field office announced a new effort to prevent threats and voter intimidation.
The FBI in New Haven has now designated two agents as "election crime coordinators." They monitor online chatter and regularly coordinate with state election cyber-security analysts.
"We act as an intermediary between the larger federal picture of what is seen across our federal partners, and then also what is happening within the communities of Connecticut,” said FBI New Haven special agent-in-charge David Sundberg.
The FBI hasn’t identified any threats in Connecticut, according to Sundberg. But on Friday, the U.S. government issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of a “heightened threat” to elections across the country, fueled by a rise in “domestic violent extremism.” Hours earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband was assaulted inside their California residence. Closer to home, someone attacked New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin this summer.
State election officials are also on guard. In a recent memo to voter registrars and law enforcement across Connecticut, Secretary of the State Mark Kohler wrote: "We have no information that there will be any intentional acts of interference or intimidation at the polls in Connecticut,” but also reminded poll workers that state and federal law “expressly prohibits voter intimidation and creates a high bar to challenging the eligibility of voters.”
"We don't usually have any problems,” said deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates. "If somebody is pressuring you one way or the other, trying to block your right to vote, you should go to your poll worker or your moderator -- they have a lot of powers at that polling place to keep order.”
But Kohler’s memo also acknowledged that election workers can't always stop activities "occurring outside of the 75-foot restricted area." That's what happened in Arizona, where a federal judge ruled self-appointed "observers" in military fatigues can remain outside ballot boxes.
Despite the ruling, Sundberg urged voters to call authorities if they feel intimidated.
"The FBI will work in coordination with the United States Attorney's office on all these matters to determine if it appears that activity has created an environment of intimidation,” he said.
You can report voter threats or fraud here. You can also contact the Secretary of the State or your local police department.


More from News 12