Right-Wing Militia Groups and the 2020 Election

With the election just around the corner, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) has released a new report titled Standing by: Right-Wing Militia Groups & the US Election. In this study, ACLED along with MilitiaWatch map out right-wing militia activity across the United States and identify which locations are at highest risk of violence heading into the 2020 election.

Nine active right-wing militia groups are analyzed, and the authors divide them into three different categories based on their pollical posturing:

  1. ‘Mainstream militias,’ or groups most likely to work with and alongside US law enforcement
  2. Right-wing street movements, those that are highly active in fighting in physical space
  3. Highly devolved right-wing libertarian groups, those skeptical of state forces, with a history of conflict

Each group’s origins, goals, core activities, and potential for violence are covered in the report. According to the study, the Three Percenters, Boogaloo Bois, and Proud Boys are among the groups with the highest potential for violence in the coming weeks.

The authors also identify multiple factors that drive right-wing militia activity, including anti-coronavirus lockdown protests, perceptions of ‘leftist coup’ activities, and personal relationships with police or law enforcement. They determine that the states at highest risk of increased militia activity are Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oregon; whereas North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, California, and New Mexico are considered to be at moderate risk.

More resources on Right-Wing Extremists, Militia Groups, and 2020 Election Security can be found at the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).

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