An East Harlem early voting site was briefly evacuated on Sunday morning after someone called a bomb threat into the school where it’s located.
The threat was lodged against the Jackie Robinson Educational Complex, where several voters and staff were practicing democracy at the early voting site.
“The NYPD notified us of a bomb scare at 1573 Madison Ave, which is an early voting site,” tweeted Board of Elections deputy executive director Vincent Ignizio on Sunday. “Emergency protocols were initiated immediately. Staff along with a handful of voters were escorted out safely.”
Police gave the “all-clear” for voting to resume at the poll site at around 12:40 p.m., Ignizio tweeted, after about 2 hours of closure.
A police spokesperson said that the threat was not lodged against the poll site itself, but against the school, noting that a post on social media had ominously indicated something would occur at the school on Nov. 9.
Despite it being Nov. 6, police had the school evacuated to sweep for explosives, none of which were found. The spokesperson said the threat had nothing to do with the poll site or election.
Sunday is the final day of early voting in the city ahead of Tuesday’s general election, and nearly 350,000 New Yorkers had already cast their ballot as of closing time on Saturday, according to the BOE.
Though the bomb threat was seemingly unrelated to voting, Sunday’s scare was a reminder of the specter of political violence that has loomed heavily over the polarized United States this election cycle.
A recent ABC/Washington Post poll found 88% of American adults fear polarization is increasing the risk of political violence this year, and security agencies are on a heightened advisory regarding the potential for politically-motivated terror on and after Election Day.
Fears of bloodshed have heightened since the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at the couple’s San Francisco home, where a conspiracy-addled intruder cracked Pelosi’s skull with a hammer after arriving seeking to break the speaker’s kneecaps. Threats against poll workers are on the rise, while in states like Arizona, armed civilians have intimidated voters while claiming to “monitor” ballot drop boxes.
Meanwhile, much of the Republican Party continues to promote lies regarding the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, which resulted in the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and those same people are sowing doubt on the upcoming elections before they even happen.
Former President Donald Trump has even promised to challenge the election results in the down-to-the-wire Senate race in Pennsylvania, before any votes have been counted.