Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 29, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Does Gov. Tony Evers have a plan in case Election Day gets rough?
It doesn’t appear so.
Here’s your first indication: The Wisconsin Homeland Security Council, responsible for advising the governor on emergency preparedness, hadn’t met since December 2019. The council finally met Tuesday afternoon.
And after a 10-month hiatus, bureaucratic members seemed more concerned about health care “equity” and climate change than they were about the potential for intimidation at the polls — or rioting in Wisconsin’s city streets following the election.
The question of the National Guard’s involvement did come up. Council members were told what Empower Wisconsin was told earlier this week, that the Guard’s role is to be determined. Less than a week out from Election Day and the National Guard’s role is TBD.
“However, we stand ready to assist as we have in the last three elections in Wisconsin, with poll workers providing that support, if needed,” said Major Joe Trovato, deputy director of Public Affairs for the Wisconsin National Guard, in an email to Empower Wisconsin.
The council did go into closed session to discuss “current threats as well as the Nov. 3, 2020 election,” but apparently there wasn’t much definitive talk on those points, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Police departments nationwide are preparing for the potential of election night lawlessness and violence. They certainly are battle tested after a long, hot summer of Black Lives Matter disorderly protests and riots.
“There is no secret that this election is more contentious than in years’ past,” said New York Police Department’s Chief of Department, Terence Monahan, during a Tuesday press conference covering election preparedness.
Evers has had some difficulties in calling up the Guard in a year of COVID-19 and violent protest. The Democrat was criticized for not calling up enough members to assist at the polls in Wisconsin’s April election, and he was roundly criticized for his delay in deploying enough citizen soldiers to help local law enforcement amid the riots in Madison and Kenosha.
“It’s important for Gov. Evers to be put on notice that he is responsible for a peaceful election,” one source with knowledge of Homeland Security issues told Empower Wisconsin.
The governor’s communication team has yet to respond to Empower Wisconsin’s questions about National Guard involvement.