DALLAS, Texas - The heated election cycle has some North Texas polling locations increasing security, especially at 85 voting locations inside schools.
There has been discussion online about self-appointed, armed poll watchers showing up at the schools, but Dallas ISD police say they are not aware of any specific threats or issues. They do plan to have all officers and security on patrol Election Day just in case.
“The nature of this election could possibly be contentious, and we're aware of that. We are taking all the precautions that we can,” explained DISD Police Chief Craig Miller. “Some parents called, and I do think they are concerned about the safety.”
While schools in other parts of the country are planning to close on Election Day, DISD is urging kids to come to school while letting parents know officers will be close.
“Every day, parents send their children to schools, and they feel safe,” Miller said. Next Tuesday should be no different. The polling will take place away from the students. There will be increased traffic, but that's to be expected.”
With claims of a rigged election and people appointing themselves informal poll watchers, Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole says, as a whole, they're planning for extra deputies to patrol voting sites across the county.
“They would be moving around, getting out of the patrol cars, making sure there's nothing of any kind of a threat to workers and also to voters,” she explained.
The largest North Texas counties are each taking a different approach to security. Tarrant County says it’s asked law enforcement in every jurisdiction with a polling place to increase patrols while Collin County says it's not placing any additional officers at vote centers, saying that early voting has gone smoothly.
“We don’t want the voters to be afraid to go to any of the polling locations,” said Pippins-Poole “We want them to know that our polling locations are safe.”
Police say they're not patrolling inside voting locations. Elections officials also remind people that although it's an open carry state, guns not allowed at polling locations and schools.