FRESNO, California (KSEE) — The Fresno County Clerk is working with law enforcement on a plan in the case tensions rise at voting centers in Fresno County.
With over 50 centers open on Saturday, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Fresno Police Department, and FBI will all be on stand-by for protests.
“There is a lot of energy around the election this year,” said Fresno Police Department Spokesperson Jeff LaBlue. “Our goal is that it is as safe as possible so that everyone can vote and be heard.”
LaBlue said around 60 Fresno police officers will be ready to head to voting centers incase of any problems.
“Us being available,” said LaBlue. “But, there isn’t going to be a presence at any of the polling stations.”
Any demonstration or protest is illegal within 100 feet of any polling place, according to California State Law.
“Chief has always been very open about allowing the public to be heard,” said LaBlue. “But we do need to follow the rules and regulations around voting and it’s important that everyone feels safe and everyone feels comfortable casting their vote.”
Unlike some other states, Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth said poll watchers are legal in the state.
“An observer is anyone,” said Brandi Orth. “It can be an individual. It can be someone from a campaign. It can be someone from a political party. Someone involved from a political organization. There is really no definition. It is just how they behave.”
The observer must wear a badge, check-in with election officials, not wear any candidate merchandise, or interrupt any of the voter or poll workers.
Fewer poll watchers will be allowed inside of the centers than normal because of limited capacity restriction due to COVID-19.