Polling sites and drop boxes are popping up across the state ahead of Election Day, and Santa Clara County officials are taking steps to ensure safety from things like fraud and voter intimidation with vows from law enforcement.
Despite the lack of any specific threat, several officials from various county agencies, including the Board of Supervisors and the registrar of voters, joined the president of the Santa Clara County Police Chiefs Association to hold a press conference on Monday about election security amid record voter turnout.
They say trained officers are looking for anything and everything that could potentially disrupt votes from being counted or swayed at the hundreds of different polling and drop-off locations across Santa Clara County.
Sunnyvale Police Chief Phan Ngo said during the presser, which was covered by KPIX, that all law enforcement agencies in Santa Clara County will be providing officers with special training on how to handle any and all election crime situations that may arise.
Santa Clara Assistant District Attorney James Gibbons-Shapiro described some of the things that officers will be looking out for when it comes to voter intimidation and suppression. "No one is allowed to assemble uniformed or armed in the vicinity of a vote center. In California, it's a crime to do these things, and they will not be tolerated," said Gibbons-Shapiro.
Authorities will also be looking for people who are campaigning close to polling stations. You are not allowed to wear campaign-related clothing or hold campaign signs within 100-feet of voting centers, as this is known as electioneering.
Officers and deputies are expected to be keeping an eye on more than 100 voting locations in Santa Clara County neighborhoods that start opening up on Saturday. Officials said if you don’t see any law enforcement at the locations you can bet they will be close by and ready to respond.
Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey says that the county has set up a hotline for polling staffers to use as a direct connection to law enforcement if they see suspicious activity, unapproved ballot boxes, or feel directly threatened by voters.
As of Sunday, there were already 388-thousand ballots returned county-wide which is a record 38% of the registered voters in Santa Clara County.
The Registrar of Voters expects in-person voter turnout records also to be shattered in the county once everyone has cast their vote on November 3rd. Already the county is seeing more than twice the turnout as it did in the 2016 election.