Regardless of political affiliation, all public safety leaders should commit to supporting the democratic processes and institutions that support a free and fair election. It is imperative that public safety officials make plans in advance to support elections and respond in the case of challenges to the fair election process. With that preparation in mind, CJI created a framework to assist law enforcement and public safety agencies in planning for election and post-election periods (see below for more about the 2020 election). Experienced leaders in government, law enforcement, and public policy thoroughly reviewed and contributed to the material.
Read the full framework here: Election Preparation Framework
The election framework relies on practice, research, and data that supports the belief that there will be threats to an election process, including safety and security concerns in the post-election period. This planning process is not about politics, but about the role of the police in a democratic society – planning, protecting the community and officers, and working with partners. Public safety leaders already plan, protect, and partner around events. We created the framework and additional resources to aid in that planning.
Additional Election Preparation Resources
CJI also contributed to the below resources with the Voter Protection Program, Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, and 21CP Solutions.
- Protecting Public Infrastructure During Protests or Violent Demonstrations
- What Police Need to Know at the Polls
- Preparing for Election Day and Post-Election Demonstrations
- Managing Driver Activity Around Elections
- What Police Need to Know About Protecting the Count
- Guidance for Law Enforcement Regarding Unauthorized Paramilitary Activity at Public Demonstrations
- Guidance for Law Enforcement About First Amendment Rights
- Fact Sheet on Election-Related Threats and Incitement to Violence
The 2020 context for the creation of the framework
The November 3, 2020 election had the potential to be like no other election in recent United States history. As a result of increased mail-in voting, the likelihood was high (in advance) that there would be no clear victor at the day’s end, and possibly not for days or weeks. This lack of clarity, coupled with increased polarization on both the political right and left, created an environment where the probability of protests, demonstrations, and militia-fueled violence in the post-election period was higher than normal. The election followed a summer that saw significant demonstration and protest movements around the country. Furthermore, public safety officials who have been managing responses to demonstrations observed some protestor actions as “different, more choreographed, and more sophisticated.”