Board of Elections and police talk election day security

Election Day Security In Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. - BUFFALO, NY - The Erie County Board of Elections met with local law enforcement Wednesday to plan how they will keep election day safe. 

A recent USA TODAY poll showed 51 percent of voters are "very" or "somewhat" concerned about violence at the polling place. 

The meeting Wednesday was to discuss local planned and coordinated efforts to prevent any possible disruptions on November 8. 

The Democratic Commissioner of the B.O.E., Len Lenihan, said this year's security is more important than ever. 

"We've had a unique situation this year where people at the national level have been telling people to show up at the voting booths and monitor the elections and so forth," Lenihan said. 

Lenihan said that just will not be tolerated. 

"It's a time honored system we have," Lenihan explained. "It's efficient. It's methodical. But most importantly, it's honest."

Lenihan said that in addition to on-site inspectors and site-survey teams from the Board of Elections office, law enforcement will be normally staffed for Election Day but on high alert. 

"We don't think there will be any [issues] but if anybody [has] any plans, you should rethink them," Lenihan warned. 

An estimated 400,000 voters are expected at around 365 polling locations. Lenihan said there is no way to staff every site with armed officers. 

But officers will be out actively patrolling the community, able to quickly respond to any disturbances, thereby ensuring every voters right. 

"That's what a democracy is and you get to go in and vote and you do that freely, without harassment or intimidation or any sort of outside influence."

Safety on election day will only be effective if the public participates too. The Board of Elections has some rules they ask voters to abide by while at their polling place. 

Do not wear anything political to the polls. If you show up with a Trump shirt or a Clinton button, you will not be allowed in to vote. 

Once you have completed your ballot, you must leave the polling site. 

Anyone can assist another voter as long as that person is not your union agent or your employer. 

Campaign volunteers are required to be at least 100 feet from any polling site. 

"We are on alert for any problems," Lenihan said. "We've gone beyond the call of duty to ensure that the process is orderly and efficient and methodical as it can be for the voting public and that's what our system calls for."

Lenihan said he expects voter turnout to be a little below the past couple presidential elections. 

He said 2008 saw about a 75 percent voter turnout. 2012 saw about a 70 percent voter turnout. He predicts 2016 will be around a 65 percent voter turnout. 


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