Let’s just come out and say it: 2016 has been a slow-burning dumpster fire, and the presidential election is largely responsible.
But in the weeks leading up to Nov. 8, the doomsday aura surrounding American politics seems to have most overwhelmed one state in particular — Texas.
Some counties there are using paper ballots; voters have blamed electronic glitches on nefarious, and unfounded, ballot-swapping schemes; and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made unsubstantiated conspiracy theories of voter fraud in Texas a talking point during some of his recent stump speeches.
Now, there’s this: Somebody in the Dallas metropolitan area glued razor blades to the bottom of a Trump campaign sign this week and plunged it into the ground outside an early-voting polling place.
It was left in front of the official polling site sign, according to a statement obtained by ABC affiliate WFAA-TV, blocking “vote here” directions, so a do-gooder decided to relocate it at about 6:15 a.m. Tuesday.
But in the early morning darkness, he didn’t see the sharp, shiny line protruding from the sign’s edge.
He lifted — and the blades sliced.
“Tampering a sign in this way … I have not seen that before,” Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet told WFAA.
“I’m not even sure what the motivation to do something like that would be,” he said.
The incident was reported to the Texas Ranger Division, which is investigating, Collin College spokeswoman Lisa Vasquez said in the statement. The sign was found on the college’s Spring Creek Campus in Plano, a Dallas suburb.
“All campaign signs on the college’s campuses are being inspected, and any sharps found on signage will be removed,” Vasquez said. “The college will be working with local election officials and both political parties to ensure safety.”
Officials told Fox 4 News that there are no cameras in the area, and so far, no arrests have been made.
The man declined to seek medical attention for the minor cuts on his hands, according to the Collin College statement, and chose to treat the wounds himself. The man was there that morning, the statement said, to drop off a friend who was volunteering as a poll worker.
“It wasn’t a prank as far as it looked to me. It looks like something intentional to hurt somebody,” Sherbet told Fox 4. “These things on the surface look one way, but you can’t jump to conclusions, which is why they need to be investigated thoroughly.”
Incidents of violence and vandalism have plagued this election cycle and seem to have escalated in recent weeks. In mid-October, a Republican Party headquarters in North Carolina, a state bitterly divided this year, was firebombed and spray-painted with a swastika and the words “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”
On Tuesday night, the same day of the razor-blade incident, authorities say a fire was purposefully set at a historically black church in Mississippi, the sanctuary’s outside tagged with the spray-painted words “Vote Trump.” It is being investigated as a hate crime.
A large pile of animal manure was dumped in front of a Democratic Party headquarters in Ohio. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) joked at a get-out-the-vote meeting that gun rights supporters may want to put a “bull’s eye” on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. He later apologized.
At a rally Monday in Florida, Trump supporters held up target practice signs of Clinton’s face.
And now federal and state law enforcement officials are concerned this bitter election might end in violence, reported NBC News, especially if Trump refuses to accept the results.
“I will keep you in suspense,” he said at the third presidential debate when asked whether he would consider the vote legitimate.
The GOP nominee later said he would, of course, accept the results if he won, and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, clarified that the ticket would be cooperative.
“It’s terrible we’ve become so polarized in our politics,” Steve Spainhouer, the Democratic chair in Collin County Precinct 122, told CBS 11 News about the razor blade incident. “I think it’s deplorable. It just shows how far we’ve come in politics where people want to be so mean, so hateful to try and injure somebody who’s probably got no political party persuasion one way or another and is just working at a poll.”
He told the TV station it is the most heinous campaign-related incident he has seen in 16 years.
Local Republican leaders agreed — this act was intentional and disturbing.
“They were placed in front of a vote sign so someone would have to move it,” Collin County Republican Party Executive Director Neal Katz told Fox 4. “It’s obvious intent was for someone to get cut.”
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