Private militias at polling centers illegal, explained by Georgetown Law

evil wasabi

The Jongmaster
20 Year Member

What is a militia?

Fact Sheet: Unlawful Militias in Maryland
Federal and state laws generally use the term “militia” to refer to all able-bodied residents between certain ages who may be called forth by the government to defend the United States or an individual state. See 10 U.S.C. § 246. When not called forth, they are sometimes referred to as the “unorganized militia.” A group of people who consider themselves part of the able-bodied residents referred to as members of the militia under state or federal law is not legally permitted to activate itself for duty. A private militia that attempts to activate itself for duty, outside of the authority of the state or federal government, is illegal.

How do I know if a group of armed people is an unauthorized private militia?
Groups of armed individuals that engage in paramilitary activity or law enforcement functions without being called forth by a governor or the federal government and without reporting to any government authority are acting as unauthorized private militias. They sometimes train together and respond to events using firearms and other paramilitary techniques, such as staking out tactical positions and operating in military-style formations. They often purport to have authority to engage in military and law enforcement functions such as protecting property and engaging in crowd control.

These groups often engage in behaviors that show their intent to act as a private militia, such as wearing military- style uniforms, tactical gear, or identifying insignia; wielding firearms or other weapons; and operating within a coordinated command structure. Other factors—such as statements by leaders or members’ efforts to direct the actions of others—also may suggest that a group is acting as a private militia. Groups of armed individuals may engage in unauthorized militia activity even if they do not consider themselves to be “members” of a paramilitary organization.

Does the Second Amendment protect private militias?
No. In fact, the Supreme Court decided in 1886—and repeated in 2008—that the Second Amendment “does not prevent the prohibition of private paramilitary organizations.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 621 (2008) (citing Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886)).

Is it legal to act as a private militia in Maryland?
No. All 50 states prohibit private, unauthorized militias and military units from engaging in activities reserved for the state militia, including law enforcement activities. Maryland’s laws are described below:
Maryland Constitution: The Maryland Constitution forbids private military units from operating outside state authority, providing that “in all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and control of, the civil power.” Md. Const., Decl. of Rights, art. XXX.
Maryland Statute – Prohibition on private military units: Maryland law makes it illegal for groups of people to organize as private militias without permission from the state. Md. Code Ann., Public Safety § 13-214 provides that, except for “units of the organized militia” and U.S. troops, “a body of persons may not associate as a military company or organization or parade in public as a military company or organization without the permission of the Governor.” Further, except for “troops acting under the authority of the President, an armed military force from another state may not enter this State for military duty without the permission of the Governor.” Id.

What should I do if I see armed groups near a polling place or voter registration drive?
First, document what you see:
➢ What are the armed people doing?
➢ What are the armed people wearing?
➢ Are they carrying firearms? If so, what type? If not, are they carrying other types of weapons?
➢ Are they wearing insignia? If so, what does it say or look like?
➢ Are they bearing signs or flags?
➢ Do they seem to be patrolling like a law enforcement officer might do?
➢ Do they seem to be coordinating their actions?
➢ Do they have a leader?
➢ Are they stopping or talking to people outside of their group?
➢ Do they appear to be provoking or threatening violence? If so, what are they doing specifically?
➢ Are people turning away from the polling station after seeing or speaking with them?
Second, call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) to report what you see.
Assistance in also available in Spanish at 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888- 839-8682), in Arabic at 844- YALLA-US (844-915-5187), and Asian languages at 888-API-VOTE (1-888-174-8683). A video call number for American Sign Language is available at 301-818-VOTE (301-818-8683).

evil wasabi

The Jongmaster
20 Year Member
PSA for anyone who wants to also vote in Maryland?

PSA for US voters anywhere if you read it and consider that the Supreme Court has made determinations on private militias twice, and that it cites the federal law that defines the militia legally. These facets are useful in any state, and could he helpful in case anyone is subjected to voter intimidation.


A Broken Man
20 Year Member
I'd like to troll these guys with Poppy, us yelling at them "Four more years for the Bunker Bitch!"

Eventually it would probably end with me saying, "What are you gonna do, shoot me?" And then they shoot me.

But luckily that will spearhead a movement for Aaron's Law.


20 Year Member
I wish the militia guys were still just harmless idiots.

You have to be a real piece of shit to do any kind of electioneering near a polling place, even if you’re outside the protected polling zone.