ILLINOIS (WMBD) — As we quickly approach election day, safety for candidates and voters is a priority.
This all comes after a violent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, and a death threat against Gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey.
Now, local police are working to ensure your safety when you head to the polls. Politicians are also toning down their rhetoric ahead of Tuesday’s election.
“It shouldn’t happen to anybody, political or not,” Cindy Bailey, wife of Candidate for Governor Darren Bailey said.
These comments come after political violence is continuing in the United States.
On the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was violently attacked with a hammer, Illinois Candidate for Governor Darren Bailey and his family received a death threat.
Senator Bailey (R-IL) responded to the violence-filled voicemail Thursday afternoon, blaming Gov. JB Pritzker (D-IL).
“He is the very person that is creating a lot of this division. As a matter of fact, it was perceived, this person was watching one of his ads when he got so angry at me,” Sen. Bailey said.
When asked if he bares any responsibility for the threats against Bailey, Gov. Pritzker pointed to his actions once he learned about the threat.
“I know Illinois State Police did respond and have responded, and so have the CPD. I’m glad this has been acted upon. We’re protecting Darren Bailey appropriately,” Pritzker said during a Thursday morning event in Englewood.
But the investigation didn’t start with the Illinois State Police, it started with the Illinois Secretary of State Police.
“On Monday, Oct. 31, state Sen. Darren Bailey’s office contacted Illinois Secretary of State Police regarding a threatening voicemail their office received on Friday, Oct. 28. Secretary of State Police investigated and reported their findings to Sen. Bailey. At that time, Sen. Bailey chose not to press charges against the offender. Secretary of State Police informed Sen. Bailey that if he chose to later pursue charges that he should contact Secretary of State Police. Sen. Bailey did not pursue charges through the Secretary of State Police. As with this incident, any threat brought to the Secretary of State Police is always taken very seriously and investigated immediately. Illinois State Police is now handling the investigation,” the Illinois Secretary of State Police spokesperson told WMBD.
But once the pleasantries were over, finger-pointing once again rose to the forefront.
“We have got to unify our people. I am not seeing that message. When someone stands up and calls someone for office a “threat to democracy,” that’s what I consider extreme,” Bailey said, referring to Pritzker.
“I think that if you look at Darren Bailey’s comments over the last few years against me, calling me a tyrant, calling me names, I would say Darren Bailey is as much responsible for the environment that’s been created as Donald Trump,” Pritzker said.
Darren’s wife, Cindy, said the threats against her family make her “righteously angry.”
“When they come after our children and grandchildren, that’s a problem,” Cindy Bailey said.
Pres. Joe Biden spoke at the podium Thursday morning, urging Americans to unite.
“We need to start looking out for each other again, seeing ourselves as we the people, not as entrenched enemies,” the President said.
This comes as voter intimidation is becoming a problem this election cycle in Arizona.
WMBD spoke with local law enforcement on if voters in central Illinois need to be concerned about their safety this election.
Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria told WMBD there is no local threat to the area, and no threats have been made.
Both he, and Peoria County Sheriff Chris Watkins, are working with local election officials to ensure safety at the polls.
“We have increased security to make sure people are safe when they vote,” Sheriff Watkins told WMBD.
While not diving into the specifics of the plan, Sheriff Watkins said local law enforcement agencies have a “strategic security operation” to keep voters safe.
WMBD also spoke with Illinois State Police Thursday. ISP said they provide security for the Governor and his immediate family 24/7. This security also stretches out to the Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.