Recently I read an article that said more than 51% of American were concerned about violence on Election Day:
Citing campaign tenor, schools cancel class for Election Day
…A 51% majority of likely voters express at least some concern about the possibility of violence on Election Day; one in five are “very concerned.” Three of four say they have confidence that the United States will have the peaceful transfer of power that has marked American democracy for more than 200 years, but just 40% say they are “very confident” about that, the poll found…
Given these concerns, Lt Ryan Gagnon and I met with our City Clerk, Terri Kowal to see what we could do to help voters feel safe.
During our discussion, Terri, a credentialed clerk of long-standing, let us know that she thought it was virtually impossible to “rig” a Michigan election since we use paper ballots which can’t be hacked. She also pointed out that every day the voter registration list is matched against the driver registration files of the Secretary of State so she can see who is eligible to vote and maintain accurate files. She is certain that it is very difficult to “rig” the election and is confident that Auburn Hills will not be a place where there are election irregularities.
Nonetheless I suppose there will be some people who will come to the polling locations in an agitated state and confront people on the other side of the election who feel equally agitated. We already know that presidential election years generate the largest number of voters and we expect the same this year.
Here in Auburn Hills we have a long history of civil behavior among competing factions and good demeanor at our polling locations. Just to be sure however, officers will be circulating through the parking lots just in case someone decides to be disruptive and attempt to intimidate voters. It is important to note that our only role is to keep the peace. We assure that people are able to exercise their Constitutional right to vote. If you have heard that the Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed a candidate don’t read that as an endorsement by our police. That was done at a national level and our officers aren’t members of the FOP. No matter what, we don’t let anyone’s endorsements direct our actions – the Constitution, decisions of the Supreme Court and election laws guide our actions. If you see the police at your polling place know we won’t be inside unless someone calls us to be there. We do not make decisions or rulings on who can vote, what they can wear while voting, who can stand how close, etc. Those laws are enforced by election officials.
Because of the concerns, Lt Gagnon will be out and about along with the regular patrols starting at 6 am and I will be staying through until polls close to assist regular patrols who will already be occupied with our normal business.
You may see us stop by in the parking lots of the polling places just to say HI. If you need something, feel free to flag us down. Call 911 if there is an immediate problem just as you usually do.
I’m sure that we’ll all be glad when it is over.
Just for your information here is a link to Michigan election laws including do’s and don’ts at the polling locations. actionable_election_day_offenses_472371_7