Election Day security will be tight in Cuyahoga County

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Just hours from Election Day, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections officials said they're prepared. The polling stations are set, precincts are assigned, and law enforcement agencies are ready.

"We're aware there's possibilities, but we've definitely got that covered with our partnership with law enforcement," said Board of Elections Media and Voter Education Specialist Mike West.

West said this is an unprecedented election.

"I think we all know there's tension in this election that was not there before," he said.

Despite that, officials expect a lower voter turnout this year. Cuyahoga County projects about 357,000 people will cast a ballot on Election Day, which is down from the 383,452 people who cast a ballot in 2012.

Officials said most people who vote follow the rules, but, in case someone doesn't, they've come up with a plan, which includes increasing security around polling locations.

"Poll workers and polling location managers are aware there might be some tensions and they know what actions to take and who to call," said West.

Board of Elections Director Paul McDonald said he's been in touch with Homeland Security and the FBI to make sure the election is safe and secure. Officials also decided to bring back a special response team used during the Republican National Convention.

"The County Impact Team is basically a unit put together to be deployed and put in the field to handle any unusual circumstance in the crowd or any problems we might have," McDonald said.

McDonald said they also have workers on hand Tuesday to answer any questions or concerns voters may have.

"Our more than 6,000 Election Day workers are on alert and trained to handle Election Day issues," said McDonald.

Throughout Election Day, there will also be rovers and observers at polling locations who've been trained to watch election proceedings and report any issues.

West said poll workers and first responders will work hand-in-hand Tuesday to make sure everyone stays safe.

"The level of our response depends on the offense that's happening. (If it's a) little problem, our folks take care of it. Big problem, we can call on the sheriff," West said. "We want everyone to know that voting will be very safe and secure. They've got nothing to worry about."

Voting by mail wrapped up Monday, but ballot drop boxes are open at the Board of Elections until 7:30 Tuesday evening.

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