On October 26, 2020, the Texas National Guard announced that Governor Abbott is deploying 1,000 members to five of the state’s largest cities to potentially quell unrest on Election Day or the days that follow. Texas Democrats are uneasy about this announcement, according to a Fox News report.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, the cities where troops will be sent to are Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.
The very fact that troops might be deployed to polling locations has Texas Democrats frightened about the prospect of voter suppression and intimidation. Although the state has been solidly Republican in the last 30 years, Texas is starting to become more competitive. Some experts believe it could flip to the Democrats in 2020 or at the very least, in the near future.
The Texas National Guard commander’s chief of staff informed the San Antonio Express-News that the guard deployment would only be activated to “deter any civil disturbance at sites in various cities within Texas.”
The protection of polling stations “has not been on any mission request or in any conversation with the governor’s office,” Major General James K. “Red” Brown declared. Although troops could be sent to guard buildings , being stationed at polling locations “has not been requested,” Texas Guard spokesman stated.
On the night of October 26, other military officials informed KXAN-TV that there were no plans to send military units to polling locations.
Adjutant General Major General Tracy Norris declared in a statement that the Texas Military Department “was activated to provide additional support to the Department of Public Safety in the summer of 2020.”
“Texas Service Members continue to support DPS in this capacity, guarding historical landmarks such as the Alamo and the State Capitol,” Norris remarked. “To be clear, there has been no request nor any plan to provide any type of support at any polling location in Texas.”
The San Antonio Express-News also confirmed that Norris was requested to set up contingency plans in case of any unrest that emerges. The initial reports about Abbott’s order received more concerns in progressive bastions such as Austin.
“We’re not hearing any real indications to anticipate any disruptions or intimidation,” said Adler.
Austin City Council member Gregorio Casar blamed Abbott for “fear-mongering.”