Local poll worker safety in focus after intimidation incidents increase around the country

Election Day is quickly approaching, and safety is always at the top of the minds of poll workers, especially after incidents of election worker intimidation have happened across the country.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Election day is quickly approaching and safety is always at the top of the minds of poll workers, especially after incidents of election worker intimidation have happened across the country.

It’s been 20 years since Adell Jones started working elections and being a part of the voting process is what she loves to do.

“I feel that someone has to do it and I’m one of those people, I like working with people, I like helping people,” said Jones. “I feel like I’m doing one of my political duties by helping people vote and making the process easier for them.”

Meanwhile, the voting process isn’t so easy in other parts of the country right now and election officials are always making sure to take precautionary safety measures.

“Normally when we arrive now it’s dark so we have an escort in the mornings and in the evenings when we leave we also have an escort to take us to our cars,” said Jones.

Duval, St. Johns, and Clay County Supervisor of Elections said so far, they’re all very fortunate to report no threats to their election workers or voters for this midterm election. But it’s been an issue for other areas after the 2020 elections.

In the state of Arizona, a lawsuit was filed this week in federal court targeting people who are accused of staking out and filming voters at ballot drop boxes while armed.

Robert Phillips, Chief Elections Officer for the Duval County Supervisor of Elections said they monitor those issues.

“We are very aware of that because at the same time whereas you want the poll workers to be safe you also don’t want a police presence at a polling location either so that’s something that we also have to be aware of,” said Phillips.

Local election officials said they put their election workers through homeland security training and each location has a poll deputy that operates as their eyes and ears on the ground.

Phillips said they can’t disclose all that they do to keep safe.

“We do go over emergency procedures with them to make sure if something happens in a polling room what they could do,” said Phillips.

For some election workers, it’s led to veterans leaving the job.

In Nevada, a recent Reuters investigation into threats against an election worker for alleged voter fraud led to her resignation after fearing for her family’s safety.

Reports show 10 of 17 counties that fall under the state of Nevada have lost their top election officials due to election harassment.

“I’m sure if ever there were to be an incident here, police would be a minute away,” Jones said.

Jones said she has no reason to believe that’d happen here but for anyone wanting to interrupt the process to vote, she has a message for them.

“I think it’s everybody’s right to get out and vote to let their voices be heard and I just think that it’s wrong for anyone to think that they have a right to take that right away from other people,” said Jones.

The Florida Faith leaders will host a virtual press conference at 11 a.m. on Friday to discuss election intimidation and violence. The pastors are calling on the Secretary of State and the Supervisors of Elections to protect people at the polls from threats and violence.

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