Maricopa County officials give security overview for upcoming elections
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Maricopa County officials provided an overview on Wednesday of how they plan to keep next month’s and November’s elections safe and secure. Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone brought up how his office will have deputies in regular clothes at many of the polling locations to make sure things are calm and there are no issues. “If a person is doing something that is cause for question, we’re going to educate them first. We’re going to try and work that out, de-escalate it but if it rises to the point where they are intimidating someone or threatening them in a manner that undermines their freedom to vote and it reaches the level of a criminal act, then we’ll act on it accordingly,” said Penzone. That could mean calling in uniformed officers and deputies to the situation.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, the county’s chief elections officer, said there will be up to 3,000 election employees working for the Aug. 2 primary. He also said 211 voting centers will be set up for the primary and 230 of them for the general election in November, which are more than there were in 2020. Richer also highlighted that his department wants transparent and fair elections. “I would encourage all candidates to realize we want the same thing and that’s we want all voters, all of our voters, to feel like they can participate in this process,” Richer said.
Richer said if people are concerned about the fairness of the election, they can work in the election process or become a political observer at either a polling place or at the central tabulation facility. “If you want to be part of a party’s observation process, there are official trainings, there are official manners for you to become an observer.”
Penzone had a final message for those who say they support authorities but don’t act like it. “The folks who love to say, ‘I back the blue,’ or in this case the tan, ‘I believe in law enforcement,’ then be respectful of the authority and act accordingly because I have seen people preach that and then club law enforcement professionals on the side of the head with flag poles,” he said.
The news conference in Maricopa County came just days after Pinal County had its own news conference, explaining why it has to send out two ballots to voters. Somebody made a typo, and the original ballots sent out to more than 63,000 voters in seven cities and towns didn’t have the municipal races. So a second supplemental ballot was mailed this week to those voters who have to fill out both ballots. “There is nothing wrong with the system. There is nothing wrong with the machines,” said Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer on Monday. “We have robust protocols in place to ensure that the integrity of the election is not going to be questioned.”
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