MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon says that Minnesotans “should feel confident about safely exercising one of their most important rights” after the Washington Post reported that former special forces were being recruited to guard polling places on Election Day.
According to the report, the group Atlas Aegis, described as a private security company run by veterans and based in Tennessee, seeks a “large contingent” of recruits “to make sure that the Antifas don’t try to destroy the election sites,” as the Washington Post attributed to the company chair.
Simon responded Friday saying the following:
“Private security or other related individuals or groups are not are not allowed inside polling places, only one “challenger” per major political party is allowed in each polling place, and no one else other than a voter or an administrator is allowed within one hundred feet of the entrance of a polling place.”
WCCO has reached out to Atlas Aegis for comment, and was told they would release something shortly. WCCO has uncovered Facebook posts credited to the account Anthony Caudle, listed on the company’s website as the chairman and co-founder of Atlas Aegis, offering payment of $700 per day — along with $210 per diem — to staff Minnesota. The post says, “We are anticipating the need will last well beyond the elections with 15 to 30 days of work for qualified applicants.”
Simon said that his office is working with state and federal law enforcement to ensure existing laws are enforced.
“In addition, our 30,000 election judges at nearly 3,000 polling places are well-trained on those laws. Any outside effort to supplement election judges or local law enforcement is counterproductive, unwelcome, and possibly unlawful,” Simon said.
The Secretary of State’s office added that voters are allowed to carry firearms if they’re in lawful possession of them if the polling place itself doesn’t ban firearms.