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Despite calm voting day, ADL warns of violence amid election tumult

Rejecting president’s claim of fraud, Jonathan Greenblatt says ‘nothing unusual for results to be delayed,’ urges calm as results continue to be tallied

Wooden boards protect a Starbucks location near the White House on October 31, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Alex Edelman / AFP)
Wooden boards protect a Starbucks location near the White House on October 31, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Alex Edelman / AFP)

The Anti-Defamation League warned on Wednesday that the threat of violence linked to the election has not yet passed, despite fears of fighting and chaos at polling stations on Election Day failed to materialize.

With several groups warning of violence prior to the election, fears remained Wednesday that people on either side of the national political chasm will take to the streets to protest and demand the other side concede defeat, even as results in key states continue to be tallied.

“At ADL, we remain concerned about the potential for extremists to attempt to exploit this moment of uncertainty to fuel hatred and sow discord, or even to inspire their followers to act violently,” ADL chairman Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

Despite fears of clashes at polling places, chaos sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and confusion due to disinformation and swiftly changing voting rules, millions across the US cast ballots in a historically contentious election with few problems.

Taking no chances, however, businesses in some cities boarded up windows, while across the country the harsh political climate has led to fierce debate, in some cases even dividing families.

“As always, we will call out extremists across the ideological spectrum, especially those who try to take advantage of this moment to promote a hateful or violent agenda. Vigilance is the watchword,” Greenblatt said.

In an extraordinary move early Wednesday, Trump alleged from the White House that Democrats were perpetrating widespread electoral fraud, without citing evidence. He said he would take his complaint to the Supreme Court.

US President Donald Trump speaks during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4, 2020. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP)

“Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump claimed, even as votes remained to be counted in key battleground states.

ADL, without directly referencing Trump’s comments, rejected the notion that the election was being stolen.

“As the final votes are tallied, we reiterate our longstanding calls that every vote counts and every vote must be counted,” Greenblatt said. “There is nothing unusual for results to be delayed, as this has happened previously in US history when the winner of an election could not be declared for days or even weeks after the voting.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden yells out to supporters as he departs Relish, a restaurant in Philadelphia, November 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

For his part, Democratic challenger Joe Biden asked his supporters to “keep the faith” and remain patient as the counting goes on in the drawn-out US presidential election.

It was unclear when or how quickly a winner could be determined. As of Wednesday afternoon, Biden had won Wisconsin and was poised to win Michigan, putting him in pole position for the White House.

In addition to the ADL statement, several American Jewish groups on Wednesday blasted US President Donald Trump for falsely declaring victory in the presidential election.

The heads of 20 mostly left-leaning Jewish groups all issued statements appealing to wait out the vote count.

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