KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Talk of voter intimidation has metro election workers taking precautions.
As a matter of fact, they were already on the job. The public just didn’t know about it.
Proverbial red flags have been raised at election offices across the nation, especially after one scene in Maricopa County, Arizona, when armed men in tactical gear showed up to intimidate voters during an early voting period.
Kansas City, Missouri election managers said they’ve been in defensive mode since August.
Lauri Ealom, one of KCMO’s Election Commissioners, said her office hasn’t received any recent threats of violence, but it has during other recent elections. Ealom said relationships have been in place with several metro law enforcement agencies, including the Kansas City Police Department, to establish security for voters, especially on Election Day.
“You won’t see. You won’t know who you’ll see,” Ealom said.
The subtlety is the strength, according to Ealom, who has worked for the city’s election office for 12 years.
Ealom said officers are present, but they’re not easily visible to the public. Ealom explained a strong police presence might be a deterrent to some potential voters.
“It’s very intimidating for voters to come to a poll and see a lot of police presence. People will be there, but you won’t know who’s who,” Ealom said.
“If anyone hears of any issues, that commander is available to coordinate any resources that are needed on short notice,” KCPD Sgt. Jacob Becchina said. “They are ready to respond to any concerns or any issues that anybody has at a polling place.”
Two voter hotlines are now in place for concerned voters to report irregularities or instances of voter intimidation:
Many of the cities polling locations are housed at schools where students will be in classes while voting takes place. Ealom said her staff also had their safety in mind when plugging in these stronger safeguards.
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