Michigan: Armed protesters rally outside Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s home | Samuel Dodge/MLive.com

About 20-30 protesters, some open-carrying guns, gathered outside Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s home Saturday night to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Michigan, police said. Officers responded to a public disturbance around 9:50 p.m., Dec. 5 outside of Benson’s Detroit residence, said the Michigan State Police. Some of the protesters carried weapons, police said, and the crowd dispersed once officers arrived. No protesters were arrested, police said. Detroit police were called to the scene, as well. Protesters posted two livestream videos of the rally, which showed people chanting for election audits and to “Stop the steal.” At least one individual shouted “you’re murderers” in the videos, according to a joint statement by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. The rally was a threat against not only Benson and her family, but also Michigan voters, Benson said in a statement. “The demands made outside my home were unambiguous, loud and threatening,” she said in the release. “They targeted me in my role as Michigan’s Chief Election Officer. But the threats of those gathered weren’t actually aimed at me – or any other elected officials in this state. They were aimed at the voters.” She noted in the release that she and her 4-year-old son were decorating the house for Christmas when the protesters arrived.

Full Article: Armed protesters rally outside Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s home – mlive.com

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia elections officials get death threats amid Trump election attacks | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

“Hey, how are you? You know what happens to corrupt Democrat politicians and election officials who support Black Lives Matter and who use voter fraud and voter suppression, voter intimidation and election tampering? You know what happens?” a man said, according to a recording of the call. “They learn first hand, the hard way, why the Second Amendment exists. We are a thousand steps ahead of you motherf—, and you’re walking right into the lion’s den.” It was an unsettling reminder of how heated — and dangerous — American politics have become. As officials prepared for the possibility of violence and civil unrest following Election Day, they worried about the city commissioners, the three elected officials who run Philadelphia’s elections, along with their staffs. Police performed threat assessments of the commissioners’ homes ahead of Election Day and planned strict security for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where ballots would be counted and the commissioners and their staff would spend every hour of the day. “We are working around the clock in a location that probably has the best security and is the safest place in the entire City of Philadelphia,” Al Schmidt, the lone Republican of the three commissioners, recalled of the last week in an interview Monday. “We have the police department, we have the sheriff’s office, and we have private security.” Outside, tensions were rising, inflamed by President Donald Trump’s false attacks on the state’s electoral process and the sense that Pennsylvania — and Philadelphia — would play a key role in determining the presidency. As legal and political fights escalated, so did the vitriol: a torrent of death threats, harassment, and abuse, aimed at the city’s elections administrators.

Full Article: Philadelphia elections officials get death threats amid Trump election attacks

National: Guns seen outside vote-counting centers becoming increasingly normal | Associated Press

The most turbulent and norm-breaking presidential election of a lifetime has led to an extraordinary spectacle in the United States over the past three days: armed protesters gathering nightly outside offices where workers are counting the votes that will decide who wins the White House. Some carry shotguns. Some have handguns. Often, they carry black, military-style semiautomatic rifles. The protesters with weapons are a small minority of the demonstrators. There have been no reports of anyone getting shot, and the laws in Arizona, Nevada and Michigan — where guns have been seen outside vote-tabulation centers in recent days — allow people to openly carry firearms in public. But in a nation increasingly inured to weapons at rallies – most often carried by right-wing demonstrators, though also sometimes by left-wing protesters – experts warn that the guns create a dangerous situation that could be seen as intimidation or tip easily into violence. “The more we see, the more people see it as a normal reaction – even though it’s not. There’s nothing normal about it,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a professor at American University who studies extremism. “The potential for violence becomes normalized.”

Full Article: Guns seen outside vote-counting centers becoming increasingly normal – pennlive.com

Arizona: Faced with defeat, armed protesters insist election stolen | Mimi Dwyer and David Shepardson/Reuters

Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied in downtown Phoenix on Saturday to contest Joe Biden’s election as U.S. president, charging the media with conspiring to steal the election and calling the results a “coup.” The Trump campaign lent support to protests questioning the current vote tally, filing a lawsuit in Arizona Saturday over rejected ballots that Arizona’s Secretary of State said was “grasping at straws.” Trump’s campaign alleged the Southwestern state’s most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters in the U.S. presidential race. The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an “overvote.” Pro-Trump protesters have been assembling outside the Maricopa County Elections Department and at the Arizona State Capitol for days, espousing unsubstantiated claims that Democratic operatives had interfered with the election to illegitimately deliver Arizona to Biden.

Source: Faced with defeat, armed protesters in Arizona insist election stolen | Reuters

National: Pro-Trump threats, protests rattle elections officials in several states | Norman Merchant and Tim Sullivan/Associated Press

Election officials in several states said Thursday they are worried about the safety of their staffs amid a stream of threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside their doors, drawn by President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the race for the White House. “I can tell you that my wife and my mother are very concerned for me,” said Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas. He said his staff was bolstering security and tracking vehicles coming and going from the election offices. But he added that he and others would not be stopped from “doing what our duty is and counting ballots.” Groups of Trump supporters have gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground. While the protests have not been violent or very large, local officials were distressed by the crowds and concerned about the relentless accusations. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted a plea to “stop making harassing & threatening calls” to her staff.

Full Article: Election officials worried by threats and protesters

Arizona: Pro-Trump protesters gather around Maricopa County counting center | Henry Austin, Gadi Schwartz, Kurt Chirbas and Colin Sheeley/NBC

A crowd of protesters, some of them armed, claimed the vote had been stolen from President Donald Trump as they gathered outside the counting center in Maricopa County, Phoenix, late Wednesday, ahead of the release of new results in the presidential and Senate races. It was one of several demonstrations across the country — some about the election, some about racial inequality. In New York, 50 people were arrested, officials told NBC New York. In Maricopa, some in the 300-strong crowd chanted “count the votes” and “Fox News sucks,” after the TV network called Arizona in Joe Biden’s favor. Arizona is too close to call, according to NBC News. Biden leads there with 50.5 percent to Trump’s 48.1 percent, with 86 percent of the expected vote in — a difference of just under 70,000 votes. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is the largest in the state and will prove crucial in the presidential race.

Full Article: Pro-Trump protesters gather around Maricopa County, Arizona, counting center

Michigan: There’s a Simple Reason Workers Covered Windows at a Detroit Vote-Counting Site | Davey Alba/The New York Times

Protesters who stormed a vote-counting site in Detroit on Wednesday, banging on windows and shouting “Stop the count!” appear to have had one thing in common: They organized themselves online. A New York Times analysis found 32 public and private Facebook groups with a total of 301,000 followers organized an “urgent call to action in Detroit,” asking Republican poll challengers to watch the vote counting at the downtown site, TCF Center. The call was also shared on less popular social networks like Parler and the pro-Trump website TheDonald.win. The earliest call for additional Republican poll challengers was posted to Facebook at 7:27 a.m., according to The Times’s analysis. “Come to TCF Center,” read the post in a group called Michigan for Donald Trump. “Help needed to protect our lead. Tell others.” By around 3 p.m., there were dozens of calls posted on Facebook, and people responded by showing up; over 100 people were at the vote-counting site by then. NBC News earlier reported on a private Facebook group, Stand Up Michigan to Unlock Michigan, that was part of the calls; Facebook removed the group shortly after. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Full Article: Here’s Why Michigan Officials Covered Vote-Counting Center Windows – The New York Times

Nevada: Tensions rising at protest at Clark County election headquarters | lexis Ford/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Co-organizer Mike Coudrey said the Stop the Steal group’s Facebook page was taken down, citing misinformation of Facebook’s Terms of Service, which Coudrey said the group followed carefully. “We want a fair and open and honest and transparent election and right now we are in the belief that we do not have that,” he said. “We feel this disenfranchises voters, that potentially our votes are not being heard.” One counter-protester was seen waving a Democrat flag. He told police other protesters were trying to assault him. When a group approached him, a protester with a Women for Trump flag encouraged others to respect him even if they didn’t agree with him. A protester in a MAGA hat was also seen shining a strobe light into the eyes of the counter-protester and an ABC reporter. A similar protest on Wednesday drew about 70 people to the election department while protests elsewhere in the nation demanding a halt to counting ballots led to safety concerns in several cities.

Full Article: Tensions rising at protest at Clark County election headquarters | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Ahead of Election, Police Prepare for Violence and Disruption | Neil MacFarquhar and Shaila Dewan/The New York Times

The Las Vegas Police had a quandary. They were on high alert for election-related threats, but when long lines of voters began snaking down streets and around parking lots two weeks ago, they feared that stationing patrol cars outside polling stations might drive people away. “How do you make people feel safe in that environment without creating an overt police presence — that is a challenge for all police departments,” said Andrew Walsh, deputy chief in the Homeland Security division of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. They decided that frequent but random patrols to look for potential trouble was the better choice. Striking that balance is at the root of many of the challenges facing law enforcement agencies nationwide as they prepare for an election rife with uncertainties. The largest departments have run practice drills on scenarios including violent clashes between Biden and Trump supporters, the sudden appearance of an armed paramilitary group, a cyberattack or a bomb. “This is such a polarized environment and a lot of people are angry,” said John D. Cohen, a former Homeland Security counterterrorism coordinator with 34 years experience in law enforcement. “I have never seen a threat environment as dynamic, complex and dangerous as the one we are in right now.” Police in Las Vegas — like their counterparts in New York, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and in other cities all across the country — are grappling with deploying significantly more officers to counteract any disturbances without scaring voters away.

Full Article: Ahead of Election, Police Prepare for Violence and Disruption – The New York Times

National: Preventing a Military Decision About Who Won a Disputed Election | Dakota S. Rudesill/Just Security

President Donald Trump recently speculated at a campaign rally that he might issue an executive order to prevent his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, from becoming president. As he often does, Trump entertained his crowd that night by weaving together sincere and ridiculous statements, truth and falsehoods. It is hard to know whether the president would actually try to use an administrative directive as part of an effort to stay in office. Unfortunately, the norm-shattering step of a self-serving “I won” executive order from President Trump is conceivable, as is a legal opinion to that same effect from a Justice Department run by an Attorney General who has prioritized protection of the president over the non-partisan, fair, and impartial administration of justice. Trump and his team have demonstrated their willingness to abuse the presidency for personal and political benefit. Trump has repeatedly indicated intent to contest the election if he is not declared the winner. And, serious gaps and ambiguities in election law could leave a disputed election unresolved through inauguration day. In this context, it is prudent to anticipate that Trump and his political appointees might take norm-shredding, legally dubious administrative steps to hold onto power. Incalculable damage could be done to our nation by a raging election dispute coupled with the incumbent administration ordering the executive branch and particularly the military to recognize Trump as the winner. The harm would be especially severe to fundamental norms of civil-military relations, with terrible implications for our country’s global standing. Despite more than two centuries of American tradition and multiple statements by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Gen. Mark Milley, about the U.S. military staying out of elections, the armed forces could face an impossible decision about whom to recognize as president and give the nuclear codes (and someone has to have them).

Full Article: Preventing a Military Decision About Who Won a Disputed Election

National: How State and Local Officials Plan to Prevent Election Violence | Alan Greenblatt/Governing

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to be prepared for any imaginable scenario. Running an election with record turnout during a pandemic was always going to be a challenge, but she also has to take seriously the possibility of violence and voter intimidation. She hopes the election and its aftermath will be peaceful, but she knows she can’t count on it. “Given what we’ve experienced over the course of the spring and the summer, we can’t presume that what will happen on election night or the days before, and certainly not the days after are going to be peaceful,” she said. Toward that end, Lightfoot ran an “all hazards drill,” with emergency management, law enforcement and election officials trying to game out every possible thing that could go wrong – unrest, violence, storms, COVID-19 outbreaks, arson. “We really threw in the kitchen sink,” she said. “If you were pitching this to a Hollywood producer, they’d say, no way this could happen.” That same level of concern and preparedness is evident all over the country. State and local officials are having to assume things might turn grim. They’re working collaboratively to be sure any incidents can be addressed quickly. “There’s a long history of intimidation and violence associated with elections,” said Christopher Witko, a political scientist at Penn State University. The Republican Party was barred nationally for nearly four decades from recruiting election observers to challenge voters’ credentials aggressively. The federal consent decree limiting the party’s activities expired in 2018, making this the first national election to be conducted without such restrictions.

Full Article: How State and Local Officials Plan to Prevent Election Violence

National: With Election Day looming, an anxious nation hears rumblings of violence | Marc Fisher/The Washington Post

This weekend, several dozen people will arrive at secret locations in West Virginia and Colorado to ride out the election and its aftermath. If Tuesday’s vote sparks unrest, Drew Miller’s customers at Fortitude Ranch will be secure behind walls patrolled by armed guards. “Could the election devolve into civil war? Unlikely,” mused Miller, the founder of a budding network of members-only survivalist camps. “But look at World War I: Some worthless, low-level archduke gets assassinated and things escalate out of control. I’ve got people who are concerned that all it would take is a close election and some cheating.” In Portland, Ore., where a right-wing armed group plans to show up at ballot drop-off sites on Tuesday with weapons in plain view, some extreme left-wing organizers are preparing be there as well. “The right is not going to give up their power unless they feel threatened,” said Olivia Katbi Smith, a co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America in Portland. “People are opening up to the idea that a riot is the language of the unheard. Property destruction is not violence.” On the eve of a presidential election fraught with tension, warning flares are bursting across American skies. From federal and local law enforcement to analysts who track radical groups, concern is high about the possibility that violence could erupt, especially if the vote count drags on for days without a clear winner.

Full Article: Fear of violence high ahead of election day – The Washington Post

National: U.S. Homeland Security agency faulted for election planning around potential violence | Raphael Satter and Christopher Bing/Reuters

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog body said on Tuesday that officials at its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency had not adequately planned for potential violence at polling places and vote counting stations. The watchdog’s report, issued with a week to go before the Nov. 3, comes as the threat of violence has crept up the national agenda. Recent Reuters reporting has highlighted how everyone from retailers (here to social media companies here) has begun making contingency plans should the election turn chaotic or violent. The shift in attention comes after years of election-related anxiety revolving around the integrity of vote tallying machines and electronic poll books or the threat of foreign disinformation carried by social media. The DHS Office of the Inspector General noted that the department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – the DHS arm generally responsible for protecting U.S. infrastructure from digital and physical threats – offers an array of cybersecurity support to state and local governments.

Full Article: U.S. Homeland Security agency faulted for election planning around potential violence | Reuters

National: Police Struggle to Protect Voters and Avoid Intimidation at Polls | Joe Barrett and Zusha Elinson/Wall Street Journal

States and cities across the U.S. are wrestling with a delicate task as they gear up for the possibility of violence on Election Day: how to keep voters safe without deploying a police presence that could intimidate some voters. So far, authorities have taken different approaches. Michigan has moved to ban firearms at the polls after armed protests took place at the state capitol. Police in New York City plan to boost their presence in and around polling sites. While a number of states ban police at the polls unless they are asked to help with a particular situation by election officials, some are encouraging officers to be nearby, but not at, election sites. The concern among law-enforcement officials is that efforts to protect voters put them in the position of policing the polls, a practice that historically has been discouraged or even forbidden by law. “The last thing we want are the police in the polling stations,” said Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.

National Cities Gird for Election Day Unrest | Danielle Moran , Laura Bliss , and Sarah Holder/Bloomberg

Fears of voter intimidation and civil unrest have prompted authorities in large urban centers to announce unprecedented steps meant to avoid clashes on Election Day and beyond.Chicago, Philadelphia and New York are among cities that have revealed plans to prevent violence on Nov. 3, when election observers worry polling sites could be targeted, or in the weeks that follow if historic levels of mail-in ballots preclude the declaration of an immediate winner. What’s less known is how smaller communities are preparing, even those that have seen some of the most intense violence by armed vigilantes during racial justice demonstrations — either because authorities have made no special preparations or don’t want to show their hand. Unfounded assertions of fraud by President Donald Trump and his supporters had raised the specter of such unrest even before 14 men were recently charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and overthrow the state’s government. “We have concerns that these same groups might decide that they need to take it upon themselves to go to polls and protect against a fraudulent or rigged election,” said Mary McCord, legal director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, at a press conference earlier this month. McCord has been advising cities, state attorneys general, and law enforcement about laws criminalizing private militia activity and how to enforce them.

National: As Trump demurs, an unimaginable question forms: Could the president reach for the military in a disputed election? | Missy Ryan and Paul Sonne/The Washington Post

President Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the results of the November election, paired with his penchant for plunging the military into the partisan fray, has prompted scholars and legal experts to ask a once-unthinkable question: How would the armed forces respond if pulled into a disputed election? Speculation about whether the military could be asked to play a role in events following the 2020 presidential vote has intensified in the wake of the Pentagon’s involvement in the government’s response to demonstrations against racism and police brutality. “If the president is willing to thrust the military leadership into so damaging a set of circumstances during the protests, just imagine what he would be willing to do if he wants to prevent an electoral outcome that would be damaging to him,” said Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “So yes, they should be absolutely worried about it.” As the election approaches, the president has once again declined to say he would accept its results. “I have to see,” he said during a Fox News interview this month. “I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no. And I didn’t last time either.”

Congo: Eager for Peace, Some Congolese Voters Accept Election Results | VoA News

Congolese voters hungry for peace are ready to welcome President-elect Felix Tshisekedi to power, even if alleged election rigging may have led to his victory. “I am very happy with his designation as our democratically elected President-elect Felix Tshisekedi,” Hervé, a 30-year-old unemployed resident of Kinshasa, the capital, told VOA. “Since I was born, I have never witnessed a peaceful handover of power,” he added. Tonton Kasongo, 30, a hairdresser, echoed the desire for peace. “The way I see it, as a son of this land, I want peace for this country,” he told VOA. “Since we didn’t have any gunshots, we are happy, because the one who is elected is the one we are going to call ‘Dad.’ I voted Fayulu because he, too, is a son of this land. Since he did not win, he needs to be patient and wait for the next time around.”

Congo: DR Congo on edge as presidential election results delayed | Al Jazeera

Preliminary results from Democratic Republic of Congo’s tumultuous presidential election will be delayed past Sunday’s deadline, the head of the election commission has said. The announcement on Saturday has prompted fears the vote result could be manipulated, with analysts saying prolonged uncertainty could trigger deadly clashes, similar to the violence that broke out in the central African country after the 2006 and 2011 elections. The commission, known as CENI, had received only 47 percent of vote tally sheets as of Saturday, its president, Corneille Nangaa, told the Reuters news agency. It not yet clear when the results would be ready, he said, adding: “It will not be possible to announce the results tomorrow.”

Congo: Presidential election postponed for a week | The Guardian

A presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to take place on Sunday has been delayed until 30 December, the country’s electoral commission has announced, citing problems caused by a recent fire that destroyed 80% of the voting machines in the capital, Kinshasa. The delay to the election, already postponed repeatedly since 2016, will anger supporters of the DRC’s fractured opposition and dismay observers who hoped it would bring a measure of security to the country. It is also likely to raise tensions and could prompt significant protests. Corneille Nangaa, the head of the electoral commission, said officials have found enough voting machines for Kinshasa but had to get 5 million new ballots printed. Nangaa called on the country of some 40 million voters for calm.

Congo: Campaign violence sparks election fears | Financial Times

When one of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s leading opposition presidential candidates campaigned in the mining town of Lubumbashi last week, security forces reportedly sprayed his convoy with tear gas and live ammunition, leaving at least three people dead. Martin Fayulu was heading from the airport towards the city centre surrounded by thousands of supporters, when the clash took place. The next morning the shells of burnt out vehicles littered the tree-lined streets and torn ruling-party campaign posters flapped in the wind. “First we felt the tear gas, and then they fired shots,” Mr Fayulu told the Financial Times in an interview in Lubumbashi. “How can we continue campaigning in this atmosphere?” Congo’s elections next Sunday are set to be historic — the country’s first transition of power by the ballot box as President Joseph Kabila steps down after 17 years in office. But Mr Fayulu’s experience has raised fears they will be far from democratic.

Togo: Concern mounts over elections after violence | Daily Times

International observers on Thursday raised concerns about violence in Togo before elections later this month, which the government has said will go ahead despite the unrest and an opposition boycott. The tiny west African country has seen a wave of opposition protests since last year calling for a limit to the number of presidential terms and a two-round voting system. Protestors have also called for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005 after taking over from his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema. On Thursday, the UN, European Union and the embassies of the United States, France and Germany said they were following the situation in Togo “with concern”. In a joint statement they said they “regret the deaths and violence” and “await the results of the investigations announced by the government” following the last protests.

Togo: Two Killed in Nationwide Protests in Togo Before Disputed Ballot | Bloomberg

At least two people were killed in Togo when police clashed with demonstrators during a banned nationwide protest, in an explosion of tension before disputed parliamentary elections later this month. Four policemen were also hurt, and authorities arrested 28 people in the capital, Lome, and Bafilo, 250 kilometers (150 miles) north of the city, the government said in a statement that was read out on state-owned Television Togolaise Saturday. It confirmed the two deaths. Opposition spokeswoman Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo said one of the people killed was nine years old. Several more people were wounded when police opened fire with live ammunition, she said.

Togo: Togo bans opposition protests | AFP

Opposition parties have held a series of protests across the country calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe. Togo’s government has banned a series of planned opposition protests on security grounds, saying the marches posed a security risk. A coalition of 14 opposition parties announced earlier this week that they would boycott a parliamentary election planned for December 20 and instead try to stop the electoral process. But the government said on Wednesday in a letter seen by AFP that they would not be allowed to take to the streets.

Congo: With a month to key elections, ‘difficult times ahead’ for DRC | Al Jazeera

The long-delayed and long-awaited race for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) presidency shifted into a new gear this week with the official launch of the candidates’ electoral campaigns. Exactly a month from now, some 40 million people, about half of the resource-rich country’s population, are expected to finally elect a new president after two years of postponements, uncertainty and turmoil. Outgoing President Joseph Kabila has controversially remained in office even though his second consecutive and final constitutional term officially expired in 2016. While Kabila insisted the election delays were due to challenges enrolling millions of voters and financial constraints, his refusal to step down sparked violent rallies in which dozens of protesters were killed.

Afghanistan: More than 50 people killed during Afghanistan elections: UN | Al Jazeera

The number of civilians harmed in last month’s parliamentary elections was higher than in four previous elections in Afghanistan, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a report. At least 435 civilian casualties were recorded, out of which 56 people were killed and 379 wounded, on election day on October 20, and during days when delayed polling was conducted in some provinces. The numbers do not include casualties from attacks during the three-week election campaign. “This report documents grave concerns over the organised campaign of numerous attacks by anti-government elements, mainly Taliban, directed at civilian objects and in civilian populated areas during the elections, including attacks against schools used as polling centres,” the report said. 

Afghanistan: Suicide bomber targets Afghanistan’s election commission headquarters in Kabul | The Defense Post

A suicide bomber targeting the headquarters of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission on Monday killed at least one person and wounded six, officials said, in the latest violence to strike the controversial poll. One police officer was killed when the militant, who was on foot, blew up near a vehicle carrying IEC employees as it entered the base at 8 a.m. (0330 GMT). Four election workers and two other police officers were also wounded in the blast. The attacker was “identified and gunned down by police before reaching his target,” Kabul police spokesperson Basir Mujahid told reporters.

National: Pipe Bombs Sent to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and CNN Offices | The New York Times

Pipe bombs were sent to several prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, setting off an intense investigation on Wednesday into whether figures vilified by the right were being targeted. From Washington to New York to Florida to Los Angeles, the authorities intercepted a wave of crudely built devices that were contained in manila envelopes. In the center of Manhattan, the Time Warner Center, an elegant office and shopping complex, was evacuated because of a pipe bomb sent to CNN, which has its New York offices there. It was addressed to John O. Brennan, a critic of President Trump who served as Mr. Obama’s C.I.A. director. None of the devices harmed anyone, and it was not immediately clear whether any of them could have. One law enforcement official said investigators were examining the possibility that they were hoax devices that were constructed to look like bombs but would not have exploded.

Afghanistan: Parliamentary Elections Marred by Technical Troubles and Insecurity | The Diplomat

On October 20, Afghanistan held its long overdue parliamentary elections. Delayed since 2015, the polls were only the third since the ousting of the extremist Islamist Taliban regime in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. While voter turnout in Kabul and other cities was reportedly high, the election was spoiled by technical and organizational problems at some of the 4,900 polling stations across the country. Contrary to large populations centers, where security was – for Afghan standards – relatively good, insurgent attacks severely hampered, if not prevented, voting in some more remote areas. These disruptions open the door even further for – justified or not – criticism of the results (preliminary results are scheduled to be announced on November 10). The Diplomat visited two polling centers in Kabul’s Shahr-i Naw, a neighborhood in the center of the Afghan capital only a few minutes’ walk away from heavily guarded ministries and embassies. Both opened as scheduled on the morning of October 20. Voters arrived alone or in small groups and entered the stations, which were – like many around the country – located in mosques guarded by a number of police officers. Across Afghanistan, reportedly 70,000 government forces were deployed to ensure the security of the elections.

Afghanistan: Polls close in long-delayed parliamentary elections | Al Jazeera

Polls have closed in Afghanistan’s long-awaited parliamentary elections, with large numbers of voters defying deadly attacks to cast their ballots. Most polling stations in the country opened on Saturday at 7am (02:30 GMT) and were scheduled to close at 4pm (12:30 GMT). But voting was extended to Sunday at 6pm (13:30 GMT) as the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said they gave voters more time to cast their ballot because of a lack of voter materials at some polling stations and problems with the electronic voter system. Zabih Ullah Sadat, deputy spokesperson for the commission, told Al Jazeera that 250 polling centres “opened at 9am on Sunday and remained open until all the voters had cast their ballots”. Vote counting is under way and preliminary results are expected within 20 days. The electoral body has until December 20 to release the final results.

Afghanistan: Bomb Kills At Least 22 At Election Rally For Afghan Woman Candidate | RFE/RL

Afghan officials say at least 22 people have been killed — including civilians and members of the Afghan security forces — by a bomb that exploded at an election campaign rally for a woman who is running for parliament in the northeast of the country. Ahmad Jawad Hijri, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar Province, said 36 people were wounded in the attack in Rustaq district. He earlier told RFE/RL that the death toll could rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition. Khalil Aser, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, said at least 32 people were wounded by the blast.