FEC United, the Colorado-based election conspiracy group led by election denier Joe Oltmann, is organizing “ballot box watching” events, during which members of the group — which has a militia wing — will gather near ballot dropoff locations in Colorado in an effort to “deter crime.”

In an email sent today to supporters, FEC United offered a step-by-step guide for organizing a “ballot box party.”

“Look up a local ballot box,” the FEC United instructions begin. “Try for whatever is closest to the cities, and ones which seem easier to reach from the Interstate than from the surrounding neighborhood.”

Then the email, titled “Your Civic Duty as an American Business,” suggests, “Invite your customers to join you there after closing hours; maybe you can provide refreshments, games, singing, or dancing.”

This is followed up with a section titled, “Best practices for ballot box parties,” which states that participants should not “hide” in the area around the ballot box because, “You are there to deter crime, so be obvious. If no crime happens, that’s a successful shift.”

The best practices also include advice to stay 50 feet from the ballot box.

But there’s no suggestion that FEC members should not openly carry guns to the ballot-box events. People are not allowed to open carry guns — per a new Colorado law — within 100 feet of ballot drop boxes.

The omission of guns is notable in light of the fact that FEC United’s militia wing, called the United American Defense Force, is known to attend events with firearms.

FEC United didn’t immediately return an email asking why it didn’t suggest that participants in its ballot box events leave guns at home.

Some of the suggestions on the FEC United email could be seen as frightening to voters, even if that’s not the stated intent.

“Be unpredictable,” and park where “headlights light up the group and also happen to light up the box,” the email states.

UPDATED 10/21 with a statement from a news release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

The email states that participants should not talk to voters or give them election materials, adding, “Don’t wear Trump hats.”

A news release issued Friday by the office of Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold stated that people “attempting to interrupt or intimidate voters by aggressive questioning, challenging, photographing or videotaping at a drop box or voting center may be violating state laws against voter interference and intimidation, and potentially also federal voting rights law.”  

“There is no room for ambiguity when it comes to protecting every Coloradan’s right to vote without fear of intimidation of any kind,” Griswold stated in the news release. “Free and fair elections, without intimidation, are the cornerstone of American Democracy. Intimidation or harassment that interferes with voters’ right to make their voices heard, or that threatens Colorado’s election workers, will not be tolerated.”

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