Election day is right around the corner. The police officers at the University of Central Arkansas and Faulkner County are expecting voting procedures to run as normal and are prepared for the worst.
In a recent story in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Pulaski County police anticipated there could be an increase in rioting and issues at polling places. In order to keep the peace, the Pulaski County offices are stationing an officer at the polls to limit crowding and potential protests, as well as to make sure voters feel safe casting their ballots.
The University of Central Arkansas’ law enforcement and Faulkner County are taking the necessary steps to avoid any harmful situations.
“We do not expect any problems of that kind [rioting or fighting],” UCA’s representative of university relations, Michael Hopper said. “Usually the only kind of issues that arise involve electioneering, things like handing out campaign information too close to the polling place. We do not have any direct or specific threat information for the polling place.”
Students should feel at ease. On November 3rd, students will be able to vote in Farris Hall if they are registered in Faulkner County. On-campus police officers will be monitoring the polling place. UCA’s police department wants to ensure students who choose the right to perform their civic duties will feel safe while casting their ballot.
“Our officers will be periodically patrolling the polling place here on campus just to make sure things are going well and all of our officers are ready to respond if the need arises,” Hopper stated about student voting in Farris Hall.
As an added measure of safety, the Faulkner County offices made comments about the COVID-19 protocols.
“The Election Commission is following all the guidelines for COVID-19,” Ann Fairless, Faulkner County’s election commissioner, began, “The voter should wear a mask, they will be given a stylus for their use so they do not touch the machines, we also have gloves for them to wear. 6 feet distance will be indicated on the floor. There is no electioneering within 100 feet of the door to the voting site.”
Rioting will not be tolerated. Faulkner County has prepared for the upcoming election, both health and safety concerns were addressed when it came to this public event.
“If there is any unrest at the voting site we are prepared to settle it as peacefully as possible,” Fairless replied, “Our first priority is that everyone who wants to vote and is eligible can place their vote in a safe and fair atmosphere. There will be 26 vote sites in Faulkner County on Election Day and [University of Central Arkansas] students are free to vote at any of them.”