Minnesota AG Launches Investigation Into Tennessee-Based Security Firm Trying To Recruit Armed Guards As Pollsters
- Minnesota AG Keith Ellison announced the probe in Atlas Aegis on Tuesday
- It came after civil rights groups filed a lawsuit accusing the Tennessee-based company of posting ads for armed security personnel on election day.
- Minnesota and federal law is clear: no one should hinder or intimidate a voter at a polling station, Ellison said
- Atlas Aegis reportedly posted an ad on Facebook offering to pay former Special Operations personnel to protect against ‘looting and destruction’
- The company chairman confirmed the authenticity of the Facebook ad in an interview with Washington Post earlier this month
The Minnesota Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into a private security firm attempting to recruit armed guards to act as pollsters.
AG Keith Ellison on Tuesday announced the investigation into Atlas Aegis after civil rights groups filed a lawsuit accusing the Tennessee-based company of posting ads looking for armed security personnel on Election Day and “ post-election support missions. ”
“Minnesota and federal law are clear: no one should hinder or intimidate a voter at a polling station, and no one should operate private armed forces in our state,” Ellison said.
The presence of private “security” at polling stations would be contrary to these laws. It would not make anyone safer and is not needed or wanted by anyone running elections or enforcing the law.
“For these reasons, my office is conducting a formal investigation into Atlas Aegis.”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (pictured) announced an investigation into Atlas Aegis on Tuesday after the private security company was accused of recruiting armed guards to act as pollsters
Atlas Aegis posted the Facebook ad above looking for former US Special Operations military personnel to protect polls, businesses and homes from ‘looting and destruction’
The lawsuit that gave rise to the investigation was brought by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Minnesota and the League of Women Voters of Minnesota.
The groups asked a judge to block Atlas Aegis’ recruitment efforts and described a Facebook ad the company posted on Facebook, seeking former U.S. Special Operations military personnel to protect polls, businesses and homes from election-related ‘looting’. and destruction ‘.
Atlas Aegis chairman Anthony Caudle (pictured) confirmed the authenticity of the Facebook ad in a Washington Post interview
The ad, which has since been removed, promised to pay $ 700 per day to anyone who agreed to go to Minnesota during and after the election.
Atlas Aegis chairman Anthony Caudle confirmed the authenticity of the Facebook ad in an interview with Washington Post earlier this month, the charges allege.
In that interview, Caudle denied the claim that armed guards near polling stations would intimidate voters.
“Absolutely not,” he told the newspaper. These people will never be seen unless there is a problem. So it’s not like they stand there and only let certain people in.
‘They are there for protection, that’s all. They are there to make sure that the antifa don’t try to destroy the election sites. ‘
Caudle denied allegation that armed guards near polling stations would intimidate voters
Meanwhile, officials in Michigan have also warned of the potential of armed civilians at polling stations that could lead to voter violence or intimidation.
Last week, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued a directive prohibiting the open carrying of weapons within 30 meters of voting centers.
Some Republicans and local law enforcement representatives have said it may be unenforceable.
Others have speculated that an attempt to stop people from carrying weapons to the polls will spark protests by gun rights activists outside polling stations, sparking the specter of election-related violence.
“This is not a ban on firearms. This is an attempt to protect our constituents from intimidation, threats and harassment on election day itself, ”Benson, a Democrat, said in an appeal to journalists.
As the state’s top election official, Benson said she had the authority to enforce the ban based on state and federal laws that make voter intimidation illegal.
The November election, one of the most hotly contested in US history, could pave the way for a clash between the robust American traditions of free speech and gun rights, following a series of incidents during the wave of anti-racism protests from this year.
Republican President Donald Trump, who runs behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden in most national polls, has expressed doubts about the election results, calling it “ faked ” and warning supporters to watch out for fraud.
Non-partisan electoral experts have dismissed his allegations of voter fraud as far-fetched and condemned calls for illegal voter intimidation.
Trump lost Minnesota by less than two percentage points in 2016 and won Michigan by a fraction of a percentage point.