Could voters see intimidation when heading to the polls?

Posted at 9:07 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 00:07:57-04

With the first round of polls opening October 7 in Arizona, voter security remains a major concern.

While some voters worry about mail-in-ballots, some election administrators nationwide are still reeling from remarks made by President Trump Tuesday night.

"I'm urging my supporters to go to the polls and watch very carefully," he said during the first Presidential Debate. He later claimed poll workers in Pennsylvania were told to leave, citing the issue as a reason for his continued questioning of election integrity.

Maricopa County, Arizona's largest voter jurisdiction with more than 2.5 million registered voters, has set security measures in place every election season.

"We are doing everything within the election department to be prepared, no matter what that situation may present itself," said Scott Jarret, Director of Election Day and Emergency Voting for the Maricopa County Elections Department.

Jarrett says voters casting their ballots could see anywhere between five to ten poll workers inside each vote center, inspectors, and marshals tasked with securing the polling location.

“Part of their customer service training includes de-escalation skills," he added. "If there was someone there that was performing an activity that may impede someone’s ability to vote, our poll workers are equipped to handle that situation.”

However, if issues were to escalate, they would be advised to get law enforcement involved.

"We can call them if there was a situation, and at that point in time and only as a last resort would they go to vote center," said Jarrett. While he explained a working relationship with the Maricopa County Sheriff's office, he said no deputies will be near vote centers as voters attempt to cast their ballots, only called up on a need basis.

"They’ll be performing their normal patrol activities but nothing above and beyond what they’ve done on any other day whether it a early voting or Election Day or whether there’s an election going on at all.”

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office initially telling ABC15 Judicial Enforcement Deputies have in the past monitored polling locations. Adding they planned to do the same for this year's general election. Deputies would be in plain clothes, and unmarked vehicles.

However, clarified just before our initial story aired, saying:

"When we say MCSO will have a presence at the polling sites, we mean we will be patrolling the different areas near the polling sites and will be able to respond in a timely manner if a situation where our presence is needed should arise. Each squad will have a designated area of responsibility."

Maricopa County election officials, standing by the policies and securities already in place, saying they believe it'll keep voters just as safe this year as previous elections.

'"Voters should, if they want to cast a ballot in person, they should not be worried, they should come to our polls," added Jarrett.