‘They’re trying to cause chaos.’ State Homeland Security office preparing for potential Election Day threats

The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is warning residents to be on the lookout for disinformation ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

News 12 Staff

Oct 28, 2020, 2:17 AM

Updated 1,269 days ago

Share:

The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is warning residents to be on the lookout for disinformation ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Officials with the office say that bad information about the election could come from hostile governments or domestic extremists. They say that this type of information can go viral in the days surrounding Election Day.
“They're trying to cause chaos, to cause people to have mistrust in our system itself - the election system,” says NJOHS Director Jared Maples.
An example of this was in mid-March, when fake text messages were sent around stating that President Donald Trump was planning on declaring martial law at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Federal officials say that those messages were pushed on Twitter by agents of the Chinese government.
“We are worried about seeing something like that. So, if a text message pops up this is not the time for our citizens to forward that along or post that to a website, which is what happened then,” Maples says.
Maples says that now is the time for New Jersey residents to think critically for themselves.
“Look at the message. Does it make sense? Try to verify it through real sources - reputable media like [News 12] or official government agencies like us and make sure that that's real information,” Maples says.
Maples says that residents should also be on the lookout for right- and left-wing groups which could try to take advantage of post-election chaos and target the police and law enforcement agencies.
Authorities say that unrest across the country has shown that extremists are operating with the philosophy, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and they say that the enemy of both right- and left-wing extremists are police officers.
NJOHS will be monitoring all types of activity on Election Day, including individual polling places and guarding against any cyber intrusion from aboard. Maples says recently uncovered operations tied to Russia and Iran do not appear to have targeted New Jersey residents.
State Homeland Security officials say the public should take the same "see something, say something" approach to possible disinformation as they do to other threats. Anyone who witnesses anything suspicious can contact the NJOHS at 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ (1-866-472-3365) or email tips@njohsp.gov.


More from News 12
3:04
Officials: Some Marlboro schools, Trenton Board of Ed receive bomb threat 2nd day in a row

Officials: Some Marlboro schools, Trenton Board of Ed receive bomb threat 2nd day in a row

1:45
Rain showers return tonight in New Jersey; temps warm up for the weekend

Rain showers return tonight in New Jersey; temps warm up for the weekend

2:51
EPA: Elevated levels of lead found at multiple East Trenton homes, parks

EPA: Elevated levels of lead found at multiple East Trenton homes, parks

0:24
Former NJ elementary school employee sentenced for possession of child porn involving at least 79 victims

Former NJ elementary school employee sentenced for possession of child porn involving at least 79 victims

0:25
Boil water advisory issued for parts of Monmouth County

Boil water advisory issued for parts of Monmouth County

0:20
Atlantic City’s Central Pier bursts into flames

Atlantic City’s Central Pier bursts into flames

2:32
Main Street New Jersey: Some great food spots to try in South River

Main Street New Jersey: Some great food spots to try in South River

0:25
New Jersey native Jack Leiter makes pitching debut for Rangers as they beat Tigers 9-7

New Jersey native Jack Leiter makes pitching debut for Rangers as they beat Tigers 9-7

Is your mom awesome? New Jersey tell us why your Mom Rocks!

Is your mom awesome? New Jersey tell us why your Mom Rocks!

0:54
Guide: How to host Passover on a budget

Guide: How to host Passover on a budget

0:29
GoFundMe pages created for Paterson families displaced by house fires

GoFundMe pages created for Paterson families displaced by house fires

2:43
‘Now he literally has a part of me.’ Brother donates part of his liver to twin

‘Now he literally has a part of me.’ Brother donates part of his liver to twin

0:27
Police: Husband and wife stole jewelry from Bridgewater retirement facility

Police: Husband and wife stole jewelry from Bridgewater retirement facility

2:23
Rutgers police: Person charged for shooting people with Orbeez gun

Rutgers police: Person charged for shooting people with Orbeez gun

3:40
Police: Marlboro Township Public Schools, Trenton Board of Ed receive 'unfounded' bomb threats

Police: Marlboro Township Public Schools, Trenton Board of Ed receive 'unfounded' bomb threats

Show off your team spirit! Share your photos with News 12

Show off your team spirit! Share your photos with News 12

0:16
Police: Man tried to stab UPS driver who refused to give him a ride

Police: Man tried to stab UPS driver who refused to give him a ride

0:41
Jersey Proud: Holi celebration held at Cooper University Hospital in Camden

Jersey Proud: Holi celebration held at Cooper University Hospital in Camden

0:29
Police: North Carolina man killed in crash on Garden State Parkway in Irvington

Police: North Carolina man killed in crash on Garden State Parkway in Irvington

7-Eleven, Wawa or QuickCheck? New poll reveals New Jersey’s favorite convenience store

7-Eleven, Wawa or QuickCheck? New poll reveals New Jersey’s favorite convenience store