Texas to send National Guard to five cities if there is election unrest
The Texas Army National Guard on Monday said that it would send up to 1,000 troops to five cities across the Lone Star State to support local authorities ahead of Election Day.
The dispatch says the Guard will send “postelection” support to local law enforcement in the event of any civil disturbance following the Nov. 3 election, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Retired Maj. Gen. James “Red” Brown, chief of staff to the Texas Army National Guard’s commander, said the Guard’s presence would resemble the protections offered to cities following civil unrest after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody earlier this year.
The National Guard could dispatch troops to Austin, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and San Antonio as soon as this weekend if needed, officials said.
Cities such as Minneapolis and Kenosha, Wis., saw vast building and property damage this year in the wake of protests against racism and police brutality, prompting National Guard dispatches in some municipalities.
“Right now we could go to 1,000 troops in support of civil disturbance operations,” Jones said. “We’re going to guard buildings just like we did during the [Floyd] protests earlier this year. We are not going anywhere near polling locations. That has not been requested.”
Voter intimidation has been a hot topic leading up to the election.
A voting rights group and others have filed a lawsuit against President Trump and administration officials alleging their actions have amounted to voter intimidation.
Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris told the Austin American-Statesman there is no plan or intent to send guardsmen to voter polling locations in Texas.
“The Texas National Guard continues to support [Department of Public Safety] DPS guarding historical landmarks such as the Alamo and the State Capitol,” said Norris in a statement Monday evening. “To be clear, there has been no request nor plan to provide any type of support at any polling location in Texas.”
However, Norris was requested to draft contingency plans in the event problems are reported at polling locations in the state.
Jones added that the plans “could change” regarding the Guard’s presence at polling locations, but reiterated, “We have not been asked to go to any polling locations yet.”
Gov. Greg Abbot (R) in May deployed over 1,000 guardsmen to assist the Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and law enforcement amid the protests for Floyd.
The Hill reached out to the Texas National Guard for further comment.