In spite of security concerns, voting more important than ever

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of Ramshackle Glam.
Liberal Opinion

Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam
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With Election Day less than a month away and fraud claims stemming from the 2020 vote still very raw, officials are enhancing security and safety measures. Election administrators do not want to give prospective voters any reason to neglect their civic duty, even as these officials face their own threats and harassment. Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid pleads for citizens to vote this November and highlights some of the safety precautions being introduced around the country.

I remember the first time I went to vote: It was at a public school on West 46th street, in New York City. I waited outside in the cold with a long line of people who were variously grumpy and excited, and the whole experience was largely…fine. I waited. I was cold. I went in. I voted. I went back home feeling good about having done my civic duty. 

Things are a little different nowadays. But before I start in on how and why – because some of this information may be upsetting – I want to underscore that none of the information I’m about to share with you should preclude you from voting. In fact, it should do the opposite. 

Now. In the lead-up to the November midterms, election officials – spurred by a virtual deluge of threats – are upgrading security protocols to a level that might make voting feel more akin to entering a medium-security prison than, say, a public school. Voters and officials may encounter anything from enhanced security presence to bulletproof glass and panic buttons. 

In Tallahassee, Florida, ballot-counters will work out of a building that has been fitted with Kevlar-reinforced walls. In Colorado, the Vote Without Fear act prohibits carrying firearms at polling places or within 100 feet of a ballot drop box. 

And offices around the country are implementing active shooter training and coordinating with law enforcement on response protocols – as well as installing tracking devices to monitor ballot movement on Election Day.

In a country that has experienced few instances of election-related violence since the 1960s, this is shocking stuff…except not. We’ve all grown accustomed to the reality of potential violence in situations where it used to seem hypothetical. It’s frightening. And the real-world consequences of that fear are significant. 

One in five U.S. election officials say that they are unlikely to stay in their job through 2024, citing stress and fear of retaliation from politicians and the public. Officials are increasing pay and bolstering security to try to offset this development, but there’s another problem here…and that’s that in-person voting is now a thing that some people find scary. Which is, itself, terrifying.

I remember the first time I went to vote: It was at a public school on West 46th street, in New York City. I waited outside in the cold with a long line of people who were variously grumpy and excited, and the whole experience was largely…fine. I waited. I was cold. I went in. I voted. I went back home feeling good about having done my civic duty. 

Things are a little different nowadays. But before I start in on how and why – because some of this information may be upsetting – I want to underscore that none of the information I’m about to share with you should preclude you from voting. In fact, it should do the opposite. 

Now. In the leadup to the November midterms, election officials – spurred by a virtual deluge of threats – are upgrading security protocols to a level that might make voting feel more akin to entering a medium-security prison than, say, a public school. Voters and officials may encounter anything from enhanced security presence to bulletproof glass and panic buttons. 

In Tallahassee, Florida, ballot-counters will work out of a building that has been fitted with Kevlar-reinforced walls. In Colorado, the Vote Without Fear act prohibits carrying firearms at polling places or within 100 feet of a ballot drop box. 

And offices around the country are implementing active shooter training and coordinating with law enforcement on response protocols – as well as installing tracking devices to monitor ballot movement on Election Day.

In a country that has experienced few instances of election-related violence since the 1960s, this is shocking stuff…except not. We’ve all grown accustomed to the reality of potential violence in situations where it used to seem hypothetical. It’s frightening. And the real-world consequences of that fear are significant. 

One in five US election officials say that they are unlikely to stay in their job through 2024, citing stress and fear of retaliation from politicians and the public. Officials are increasing pay and bolstering security to try to offset this development, but there’s another problem here…and that’s that in-person voting is now a thing that some people find scary. Which is, itself, terrifying. 

So. If fears of Election Day violence are threatening to upend your plans, here’s what to do. First, vote early, and vote by mail. This also serves to reduce traffic at polling places, making the experience better for everyone. 

But if you do choose to vote in person – and that is your right – remember that polling stations are not optimal places for political discourse. Skip the campaign attire, skip debating with the people around you. Keep an eye out for voting disinformation and make sure to get, say, your polling location from a reputable source like eac.gov. 

Go in, exercise your right as a citizen, and go home. If you see an instance of voter suppression, report it to your local FBI office or through tips.fbi.gov – do not try to intervene on the spot. 

But again, if you take one thing from this segment, it’s not that you should be afraid of voting. If anything, it’s that the current environment only underscores the vital importance of making your voice heard. The midterms are on their way. Make a plan, stay safe, and make yourself heard.


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