On January 6 the world watched in shock as hundreds of rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election results.
But a new report from CNN reveals that a number of those who attempted to “stop the steal” didn’t even cast a vote during the 2020 presidential race. The network found at least eight rioters facing federal charges who had not voted for Donald Trump back in November.
That includes one 50-year-old man from Ohio named Donovan Crowl, a member of the right-wing paramilitary group the Oath Keepers, who registered to vote back in 2013 but "never voted nor responded to any of our confirmation notices to keep him registered,” according to one county election official.
The riot began after a “Stop the Steal” rally where Trump parroted false and debunked claims of mass voter fraud during the 2020 election. But for some of the rioters, taking the fight to the ballot box wasn’t their primary concern, believing that the system was already “rigged” against them.
“You would have to believe in the ethic of voting more than you thought it was a waste of time...and see it as a moral imperative,” Boston University professor Jessica Stern told CNN. “You have to believe the system works for everyone, that it's for the good of the country.”
Using arrest records and publicly available information, CNN tracked down other rioters who publicly pledged their "patriotism" on social media, but failed to vote in the 2020 race. The group includes New York resident Edward Jacob Lang who characterized the January 6 attack as a modern iteration of the 1776 revolution.
"I was the leader of Liberty today. Arrest me. You are on the wrong side of history," one of Lang’s posts read.
In his quest for “liberty,” Lang attempted to attack Capitol police with a baseball bat, while wearing a gas mask and riot shield. He’s now facing a slew of federal charges.
The news that some who participated in the events on January 6 didn’t vote is not surprising to those who study these right-wing extremists. Instead it signals that a number of rioters were committed to violence regardless of the results of the election.
"When we see that significant ideological groups are stopping participating in the Democratic process, that may mean they are looking for other ways to participate,” University of Massachusetts professor Arie Perliger told CNN. “And those other ways could be more violent.”