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No safety threats expected for Election Day, Boise implementing safety measures

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As an unprecedented Election Day approaches, Boise officials have plans to ensure everyone can vote safely. 

Mayor Lauren McLean and Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee briefed the press on Wednesday about preparations for Tuesday when residents head to the polls in person amid a global pandemic and concerns of political unrest and violence around the country. Lee said as of now there are no indications of threats to residents voting in Ada County, but he said there are plans in place to ensure officers can respond to problems at polling places if necessary. 

“The Boise Police Department has worked with both our federal and state partners as well as the election office to make sure we are aware of any information that suggests risks may exist,” Lee said. “We are aware of none at this time, but we want to make sure we have adequate resources to respond to any situation at a polling location that might be disruptive.”

[Growth & Ada elections: Homebuilders, developers weigh in with cash and ads]

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McLean said police officers will not be at the polls because some members of the community do not feel safe due to the presence of law enforcement. She said anyone who would like an escort to the polls can call the Mayor’s Office to be connected to a volunteer who will accompany them to vote if they do not feel safe going alone. 

“It’s important to recognize that everyone feels safe and is safe on election day,” McLean said. “We have no indication there will be problems, but we will be here for you if you need us.”

Lee addressed concerns of individuals acting as self-appointed poll watchers on Tuesday. He said this is against the law, and anyone who wishes to be a poll observer must be registered with a party and have paperwork filed with the Ada County Elections Office prior to election day. 

“Anyone at a poll should only be there for the purpose of voting,” he said. “There is no other reason to be at a polling location.”

He suggested anyone with concerns about the elections process contact the Ada County Elections Office at 208-287-6860.

Margaret Carmel
Margaret is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at margaret@boisedev.com or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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