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Law enforcement has 'delicate balance' at polls on election day, police chiefs say

来源:ABCNews 作者: 时间:2020-11-03 Tag: 点击:


In the swing state of Ohio, Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp told ABC News that they are aware there could be issues percolating on Election Day and beyond, including possible concerns at polling places.

"We're patrolling on the periphery of polling stations; we're not placing people right at the polling site to oversee and watch and stand guard," Tharp said. "We're not doing that and there are obvious reasons why we're not. It could be intimidating to some voters. Some voters would not appreciate that or feel that there's something's going on when there's not."

Law enforcement officials ABC News spoke with across the country said that they have been working on plans with state and local election leaders. In Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Chief Edwin Roessler told ABC News that the police department works hand-and-hand with the commonwealth's attorney to make sure that in the event something does happen at a polling place, election laws are followed.

"We want to be sure that what we're doing is correct," he said.

Roessler said that having well-trained poll workers is key to responding to issues that may arise.

"It's training election officials and volunteers to be the eyes and ears and to understand what the election laws are and what they are not, and to have a triage system in place," he said.

In California, Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud told ABC News that voters will not see police officers "immediately outside of polling places."

She told ABC News that early voting could end up alleviating some issues that might otherwise arise at polling places.

"It provides for less people in one place at one time," said Renaud, who was just elected the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

John Nesky, who serves as the police chief in Bowie, Maryland, told ABC News that police presence at the polls requires a "delicate balance."

"It's a delicate balance between presence and perceived intimidation, depending on how you feel about law enforcement. We have to really be careful about how we position ourselves and what kind of optics we put out or we provide," he said, adding that their primary duties are ensuring traffic flow and keeping watch over ballot boxes.

In another battleground state, Texas, Frisco Police Chief David Shilson told ABC News that the role of law enforcement on Election Day is to build confidence in the process.

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