Can the army intervene in a disputed election? – FindLaw

Close-up of the military uniform with rustic paintings of the United States flag in the background.

When you hear the term “Banana Republic,” what comes to your mind?

Chances are, part of what comes to mind are images of a shabby state run by a ruthless dictator who uses the military to maintain his grip on power.

If you do some Google search, you’ll see lots of recent references about the “Banana Republic” to a seemingly unusual country: the United States. These signs were particularly apparent in the wake of President Trump’s threat in June that he might call on federal forces to quell the protests and riots that erupted after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

But recently, these Google references have taken a different look. Now they point to the upcoming general elections and the possibility that the army may – repeat, Probably Engaging in some capabilities for the first time in the history of the nation’s elections.

Of course, no one is seriously suggesting that we turn into a banana republic. But the Army? In our region Very own cities and streets? You can get the picture.

How bad are things?

On several occasions, President Trump has mentioned the possibility of calling on the military to impose order if violence breaks out on or after Election Day. Also, Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R Biden has said that if Trump refuses to accept defeat, the military may assume responsibility for physically removing him from the White House.

Is the army obligated to either of them?

Technically, it is important to note that the military’s primary obligation is the United States Constitution, not necessarily the president in its role as commander in chief.

But because the partisan divide is so great in this election, and the discourse is so raging, the issue of military intervention arose.

As a result, the military commanders had to respond. And they are doing their best to reassure us.

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has repeatedly said that the military has no role in implementing the electoral process or resolving electoral disputes. Most recently, on October 12th, there Millie said Zero chance of military participation. He said, “We have a very long tradition of 240 years of apolitical army that does not interfere in domestic politics.”

The next day, though, Defense Secretary Mark Esper was less convincing than Millie when he refused to assure two Democrats in Congress that he would do so. Military intervention is not ruled out. He made a pledge that the army would act “in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” and left him there.

But what if?

The task of maintaining civil order is usually left to the civilian police. If there are electoral disruptions, the civilian police will be the first to respond.

But what if the conflicts get really bad?

This summer we might have seen what it could look like. As protests spread from Minneapolis to many other cities, many state governors called on the National Guard to provide support for local police and police. At its peak, More than 40,000 National Guard reservists It was activated to handle protests in 23 states.

National Guard units, which are reserve branches of the U.S. Army, are present in every state and are controlled by the Conservatives. Members can be energized to support military missions abroad, but their focus tends to focus on local needs, such as providing assistance during natural disasters. The president has the power to federalize the Guard so that they can be moved outside their home states if necessary.

Although Milley says there is no opportunity for military intervention in elections, the president has authority under the Insurgency Act of 1807 to send active duty military personnel to countries unable to quell a rebellion or challenge federal law. This is the law Trump threatened to use in June when protests and riots broke out. Esper recommended not doing this as an extreme move, and Trump joined in.

It is important to bear in mind, however, that the US military she has They have been called in to quell unrest on American soil before. In the 1950s and 1960s, presidents sent federal forces to southern states to enforce school desegregation, and in 1992 federal troops were sent to Los Angeles when California Governor Pete Wilson requested assistance during riots there.

What about polling places?

Trump has it He encouraged his supporters to be an active presence At polling sites. The prospect of voter intimidation prompted some Conservatives, such as Andrew Cuomo of New York, to consider using the National Guard for security at polling sites. Some Conservatives used the guards during the primaries, although this was more to assist polling officials by filling absentee poll workers (in regular clothing), or by cleaning and directing traffic.

But some see the presence of uniformed National Guardsmen and working as security at polling stations as a problem. Michel FlournoyThe former Undersecretary of Defense for Political Affairs at the Pentagon (and the leading candidate to become the first Secretary of Defense if Biden wins) argues that the guards should only be used if the police are overwhelmed.

“I think going straight to the National Guard on voting day is (not) a healthy thing for our democracy,” she told McClatchy, DC news agency.

But it may be necessary.

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