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National Guard could be tasked to protect voting. So far, few governors have asked

By Tara Copp, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

National Guard service members under state control worked at polling locations during the primaries too, including the Kentucky National Guard.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers activated Guard units during their April primary to staff undermanned polling sites where poll workers had quit due to the coronavirus.

Questions on whether the National Guard may have a role in providing security during the November election resurfaced after this week's contentious presidential debate.

"One of the most disturbing things I heard last night in the debate was basically a call for people to come out and sort of watch the polls, but in a way that could also be very intimidating to voters," Michele Flournoy, who served as the under secretary of defense for policy under former President Barack Obama, told reporters at a Defense News conference Wednesday.

Flournoy is considered a potential candidate for defense secretary if Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden is elected.


But the National Guard should not be the first option to turn to if there are problems at polling sites on Nov. 3, Flournoy said.

"I think going right to the National Guard on voting day ... I don't think that's a healthy thing for our democracy," she said.

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