Make your home page

Anger fuels election participation, prof says, but IMPD seeing no credible threats

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department leader said Thursday it is not expecting any violence on Election Day and has not received any credible threats.

The law-enforcement agency, however, is going to be fully staffed Tuesday with just in case.

The 2020 election has been brisk from the minute early voting started. Indianapolis and the rest of Marion County are expecting a record-breaking turnout, and, for the most part, Marion County voters have behaved themselves at least while standing in lines.

IMPD Commander Tom Sellas said that on Tuesday, “We are opening up our Emergency Operations Center that will be staffed for that 24 hours.”

Members of the Marion County Election Board, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police and the FBI.

“We are not anticipating violence, but we are prepared to make sure that citizens have a safe ability to vote,” Sellas said.

IMPD will not enforce election laws. That responsibility falls to the FBI.

On Wednesday night, WISH-TV broadcast a special edition of “All INdiana Politics,” and Michael Steele, a conservative political commentator and former politician, talked about election anger.

Steele is part of the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan group of 100 former and current senior government leaders. The group anticipated a chaotic election season filled with legal challenges. Anger, anxiety and angst are driving voters to the polls in record numbers, which, according to Stephen Webster, a political scientist at Indiana University, is not a bad thing

“So, one of the things about anger is it gets us involved in the political process, and we are seeing record numbers of early voters, so I think Americans are sort of fueled by this anger to participate,” Webster said.

Webster also said the political divide is reaching a boiling point and could spill over at any minute.

“We are kind of, at this point where we are, at almost a perfect storm for something problematic to happen in terms of our politics, so some of my work has shown Americans are quiet, angry, especially about politics, but one of the things our anger does is it causes us to kind of shut down rational or logical thinking and makes us more prone to believing what we are told by our political leaders,” the IU professor said.