Nonvoters and registered Democrats were among those who were arrested at the January 6 Capitol protest, an analysis of voting records show.
The January 6 event, which has been overwhelmingly branded as a pro-Trump protest, sparked the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump as Democrats, primarily, blamed him for the incitement of insurrection after he delivered a speech to supporters earlier in the day. Not once during the speech did Trump encourage supporters to engage in acts of lawlessness or destruction.
Nevertheless, House lawmakers, some of whom indicated that they feared for their lives as protesters stormed the Capitol, voted to impeach him for the second time. The trial in the Senate is expected to begin next week. Meanwhile, some Democrats are offering Republicans an ultimatum, continuing to blame them and their supporters for the events that transpired on the day Congress convened to certify the electoral vote.
“The Republican Party has a fundamental decision to make. Will it be a conservative party functioning within a democratic society? Or will it be an authoritarian party built upon the Big Lie, conspiracy theories and violence?” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) asked on Monday, concluding that it “cannot be both”:
The Republican Party has a fundamental decision to make. Will it be a conservative party functioning within a democratic society? Or will it be an authoritarian party built upon the Big Lie, conspiracy theories and violence? It cannot be both.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 1, 2021
While the dominating narrative remains that Trump supporters and voters, specifically, rushed the Capitol that day to protest the election results, voting records show that some of the individuals involved in the riot were registered Democrats, and others did not even cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election.
According to CNN, which analyzed the data of over 180 of those arrested, “at least eight of the people who are now facing criminal charges for their involvement in the events at the Capitol did not vote in the November 2020 presidential election, according to an analysis of voting records from the states where protestors were arrested and those states where public records show they have lived.”
While it is true that “most” of the 80 had voted in the presidential election and “many” were registered Republicans, the analysis found that “a handful were registered as Democrats in those jurisdictions that provided party information.”
“Public access to voter history records varies by state, and CNN was unable to view the records of some of those charged,” the outlet reported alongside the revelations:
Among those who didn’t vote were a 65-year-old Georgia man who, according to government documents, was found in his van with a fully-loaded pistol and ammunition, and a Louisiana man who publicly bragged about spending nearly two hours inside the Capitol after attending Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally. Another was a 21-year-old woman from Missouri who prosecutors say shared a video on Snapchat that showed her parading around with a piece of a wooden sign from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. And a Florida man previously convicted of attempted murder who was accused by the government of refusing to leave the Capitol likely did not have the option to cast a ballot because of his unpaid court fines.
CNN also cited Jessica Stern, a Boston University professor who “believes a number of factors could have been at play” among those who stormed the U.S. Capitol. Some, she surmised, could have been “more attracted to the theater, violence or attention they would get from a demonstration like the one at the Capitol than to actually achieving their purported goal — in this case, different election results,” as the outlet reported.
The revelations coincide with the looming speculation over the fundamental nature of the protest. Democrats are reportedly building what has been described as an “emotionally charged” case against the former president in the upcoming impeachment trial, which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has deemed “dead on arrival.”
Democrats hope to “present the Senate with fresh evidence that reveals what Trump knew in advance” of the protest, according to a report from the Washington Post.
Trump repeatedly called for peace as the events unfolded following his January 6 speech.