What does voter safety look like in Northwest Arkansas? : #voter #safety #Northwest #Arkansas CelebSurgery
Northwest Arkansas (KNWA/KFTA) — Across the country, there are fears of political violence in the midterm elections. According to NBC News, a bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement warned of violent domestic extremism during the midterm elections.
Both Benton and Washington County officials say you shouldn’t worry about the safety of local elections. Neither received any threats, and they saw no reason to believe that political violence would be sparked at polling places.
However, that doesn’t mean counties aren’t prepared. In Washington County, elections director Jennifer Price said the county has many poll workers signed up to help on Election Day. Everyone is trained to respond to emergencies.
“We’ve been talking about possible emergencies at polling places for several years now. Not just threats of violence — but power outages, gas leaks, what to do — we’ve been incorporating that into our training for poll workers,” Price said.
Washington County is working closely with local law enforcement to ensure they know the location of all polling locations on Election Day in case there is an emergency call.
“They realized it wasn’t just a church Tuesday or a community center Tuesday, it was actually a polling place. There could be hundreds of voters in that place,” Price said.
In Benton County, representatives will be established at various polling locations throughout Election Day. All poll workers are ready to make calls and have the ability to respond in an emergency.
“We have safety procedures that they will follow and we will be in touch with representatives to handle this situation,” said Benton County Communications Director Melody Kwok.
There is one question you should keep in mind on Election Day. Election law does not allow any promotion of a candidate’s attire or issues that will appear on the current ballot. If you are found wearing a piece of clothing that is endorsed on your ballot, poll workers will ask you to remove or cover it.
“You can still vote. We have no reason to deny anyone the right to vote, but it is a punishable crime,” Price said.
When it comes to how long it will take to vote on Election Day, Guo said it shouldn’t take long. However, polling locations in more concentrated areas of the county may take up to 30 minutes.
“If you’re going to one of our locations in one of our larger cities, like the Rogers Convention Center or New Life Church of Christ, those may have bigger lines,” Guo said.
Some early voting polling locations may differ from Election Day polling locations. Guo encouraged everyone to check with their county to see if voting locations have changed.