Law enforcement agencies in our area tell CBS12 News they are ready to ensure voter safety on Election Day Tuesday
“This election cycle is so different, there’s so much tension. You feel it in the air. There’s just a sense of apprehension,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.
Given the tensions we’ve been seeing nationwide ahead of a close and contentious election, then couple that with a pandemic, Sheriff Snyder says all his deputies will be on duty for Election Day, ready to be the first line of response should a threat or violence break out at polling locations.
“We have a rapid response team that will be deployed throughout the county,” he said. “We’ve broken it up so if something happens, half the sheriff’s office can come to work for 12 hours, go home and then the other half will come in.”
Sheriff Snyder has divided his team up to be on standby at various locations around the county.
But you may not see them, as they must be out of sight to avoid voter intimidation.
“State law says you can’t go anywhere within 150 feet of the polling place,” Snyder said. “We have adequate resources should there be trouble at any polling place or different polling places at the same time.”
They also have a group of cyber security experts to keep an eye on possible threats online.
So far, things have been calm, Snyder says, their added safety measures being just a precaution.
“We’re 100 percent dedicated and committed to making tomorrow just another day in Martin County, where the vast majority of people can go through their day peacefully and without fear,” Snyder said.
Also on the Treasure Coast, Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney tells CBS12 News they have been training their police officers on election enforcement and to know certain laws at polling places, as they aim “to ensure the safety of all,” come Election Day.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office tells CBS12 News they are aware of the tensions around the country and “are planning for the election process accordingly.”
“We will be very visible,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said. “PBSO is always involved in the elections process.”
Judy Lamey, spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections, says deputies will be visible at the tabulation center and the main Supervisor of Elections locations, but the poll workers are asked to call 911 at their polling sites if an incident occurs in and around premises.
Businesses across the country boarded up their storefronts and windows in case of possible protests and unrest in the days ahead.