Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, is planning on sending 1,000 National Guard troops to five of the state's biggest cities to maintain the peace on Election Day or afterward. This preemptive move makes Democrats uneasy.
The major cities on the list include Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio.
Democrats argue that the troop's presence at polling locations in those areas will lead to voter suppression and intimidation. Traditionally, Texas has been a Republican fortress but Democrats believe that the state could be flippable this election year and are fighting to unseat Senator John Cornyn and take back control of the upper chamber of Congress.
Major General James K. Brown, the Texas National Guard commander's chief of staff, told reporters that the deployment was only meant to "deter any civil disturbance at sites in various cities within Texas."
Protecting polling stations “has not been on any mission request or in any conversation with the governor’s office," said the Major General.
According to Texas Guard spokesman Brandon Jones while troops are allowed to be sent to guard buildings, going near polling locations "has not been requested."
Other military officials have said they have no plans to provide any support at polling locations.
In more progressive cities like Austin, Abbott's orders were met with apprehension. Democratic Mayor Steve Adler reassured voters in a statement by saying they should feel confident at the polls and the city does not agree with the orders.
"We’re not hearing any real indications to anticipate any disruptions or intimidation,” said the mayor.
Texas is not the only state ready to send National Guard members to polling sites. Wisconsin and Kentucky have utilized National Guard troops to help with ballots or assist in setting up tables.
With less than a week until Election Day, there has already been a record-breaking 63 million early ballots submitted with voters turning out in historic numbers.
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