Police Chief not concerned about intimidation at city polls

WESTFIELD – Despite nationwide fears of voter intimidation at the polls during early voting and on Nov. 3, Westfield police do not believe there is a local threat at polling sites. 

Police Chief Lawrence P. Valliere said that the Westfield Police do not have any reason to believe that Westfield voters will face any intimidation at the polls this election. 

“We do not currently have any intelligence that would suggest that voters are potentially in harm’s way,” said Valliere.

Though he says there is no threat, he did say that a police officer would be assigned to each polling location on Election Day and will be visibly present. He said there will also be patrol officers checking in on each location throughout the day. 

“The State Police have assets available should we need assistance,” said Valliere.

The fear of voter intimidation comes amidst possibly the most contentious and divisive election in the nation’s history. In September, President Donald J. Trump urged his supporters to go to polling locations and watch democratic voters throughout the election. President Trump has repeatedly asserted without evidence that there will be rampant voter fraud in this election. 

In Massachusetts poll watchers assigned by political parties are actually legal, so long as the watcher remains far enough away from the ballot area. In the same vein, one is not allowed to campaign or bring campaign materials into the polling area. 

Massachusetts is a state unlikely to face any major voter intimidation incidents. The state has remained reliably democratic since the 1988 elections and is unlikely to flip this year, making it an unlikely target for persons to attempt voter intimidation tactics. 

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