Presence at the polls

Island police ready for Election Day.

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Voters going to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 3, may see more of a police presence as Island departments want to make sure there are no disruptions to the electoral process. — Lexi Pline

Island police chiefs are letting the public know they are expecting a regular electoral process on the Island, but are aware of the concern about election disruption on a national level.

Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee said there is no evidence there are any disruptions planned on the Island. “I think we all anticipate the typical peaceful decorum the Island has received in past elections,” McNamee said. “Having said that, we have seen the concern more on the national level about possible disruptions to the electoral process.”

McNamee said some additional staff and monitoring will be added at polling stations across the Island. “We’re certainly not exerting our influence in any way, shape, or form,” McNamee said. “We’re going to be available to make sure that no one is going to try to disrupt someone else’s ability to enjoy the right to vote.”

Police Chief Erik Blake said Oak Bluffs will do what it did during the primary election, and have an officer present during polling hours.

“Luckily we’ve had very few problems in the past of people getting too close to the polling area, or intimidation, so hopefully that’ll continue this year,” Blake said.

Similarly, West Tisbury Police Chief Matt Mincone said his officers are ready to assist if needed. 

“I’ve had discussions with our town clerk, and our department will be available to assist, if necessary, for a peaceful election,” Mincone wrote in a text message to The Times.

Aquinnah police chief and president of the Island’s law enforcement council Randhi Belain said the Massachusetts Police Association (MPA) reached out to the council presidents to begin a discussion on election security.

Belain said there’s been active discussion at the state level of polling place security and cybersecurity. “Obviously with the bigger areas, there was concern that they were covered,” Belain said of the larger cities across the state.