TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Getting voters to the polls is the goal of every election, but making sure they're able to cast their votes has become another challenge.
Reports of voter intimidation are climbing, and one organization says the issue could be law enforcement.
The Advancement Project says law enforcement presence at any polling site can be intimidating, especially in areas where you see more Black voters and are asking law enforcement in the state to reduce presence in those areas.
The project has partnered with the National Bar Association, sending out a Memorandum of Understanding for law enforcement agencies to adopt.
They are asking for three things:
- Limit calling officers to polling places unless necessary,
- minimizing presence officer presence, and
- implementing training for poll workers to de-escalate tense situations.
The organization says this is in response to calls of voter intimidation in Florida.
"We are sure this is happening," said Sharion Scott, a staff attorney for the Advancement Project. "We have received some calls and reports that they show up, that there is a police officer at a polling location, and they are concerned as to why a police officer is there because there is no altercation or no reason that the police officer is there."
Scott says these incidents have been frequent in counties like Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade.
So far, no law enforcement agencies have signed the memorandum.
The Supervisor of Elections Office in Leon County said they have very few officers or deputies stationed at polling sites, and if they are, they should be far away from the voting area.