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These 5 states are most at risk of election-time violence from militias, report finds

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The states that face the highest risk of increased militia activity in the election and post-election period are Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon, according to a new report.

The new joint report comes from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, an organization that maps crises, and MilitiaWatch, which researches U.S. militias.

ACLED says it has tracked over 80 militias in recent months, including Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, Boogaloo Bois and Sons of Liberty, among others.

The report finds some of the following are drivers when it comes to the possibility of militia-based violence: engagement in anti-coronavirus lockdown protests, perception of “leftist coup” activities, active member recruitment and friendly relationships with local law enforcement.

If the state is a political battleground in the election can heighten risk, with the state capitals and rural “periphery” towns often seeing increased militia activity and conflict.

“Much of the Pacific Northwest in general, and Portland specifically, has been a long-term battleground for struggles between armed and unarmed, right- and left-wing contingents,” the report said of Oregon. “This history has led to some of the country‚Äôs most organized and prepared networks of mobilization.”

Also sounding the alarm for militias potentially enacting election-time violence is the Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes.

“We saw what happened in Michigan last week and the attempt to kidnap the governor as evidence that there is a real threat out there,” CAHC Chair Dr. Randy Blazak told KOIN 6 News on Tuesday. “And so we want to have federal, state, county and local law enforcements to have a clear plan on how to keep Oregonians safe.”

A map of the activities of U.S. militias and armed groups since the beginning of the summer. October 22, 2020 (ACLED).

North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, California and New Mexico were listed as being at moderate risk of election-related violence from militias.

In addition, the report also noted a number of demonstrations supporting President Donald Trump, which have been on the rise since August, have involved armed militias.

The report clarified that none of its assessment should be read as indicating an ensured outcome, but its intent is to underscore the high-risk threat environment that the run-up, election period and immediate aftermath represent. In its conclusion, the report stated the threat of violence may be high regardless of the election results.

A list of active militias in the U.S. October 22, 2020 (ACLED).

According to the ACLED’s website, the organization’s coverage of the U.S. began in May as part of the U.S. Crisis Monitor project — a joint project between ACLED and the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton University. They collect real-time data on these trends in order to provide timely analysis and resources to support civil society efforts to track, prevent and help reduce the risk of political violence in the U.S.

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