HOUSTON - Local law enforcement is on an “all hands on deck” approach for Election Day Tuesday, to prevent voter harassment and intimidation.
If you’re headed out to the polls to vote on Election Day, experts say to remember it’s your Constitutional right to do so.
Any attempts from others to sway who you vote for, or prevent you from casting your ballot entirely, is considered voter intimidation,
University of Houston Political Science professor Jason Casellas recommends not confronting someone who appears hostile and is trying to intimidate you at the polls. However, if diffusing the harasser doesn’t work, Casellas recommends alerting a poll worker or law enforcement right away.
"It's important that you don’t leave unless you actually vote. Everyone has a right to enter a voting booth freely and vote. If there’s any sort of shenanigans going on, then any citizen can call the police," Casellas said.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement officials have partnered to create a multi-layer approach to keep voters safe on Tuesday.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says no officers were allowed to take off this week.
Although Acevedo said their current threat assessment is not raising any red flags, HPD is prepared for any situation.
"We’re going to have all hands on deck. We’re going to have high visibility. We’re going to be talking to the people of Houston to make sure that they understand that we’re going to maintain a safe environment for them," Acevedo said.
Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen says a lot of careful planning went into tightening security for Election Day.
"We put a lot of meticulous thought into planning and you’re not going to see a lot of uniformed officers at the polls. Mostly, we’re in plain clothes so that the public doesn’t even see us," Rosen said.
If your immediate reaction is to start filming a potential harasser, experts say be careful because that may backfire. The rules say cell phones, computers, and other recording devices are not allowed to be used within 100 feet of a voting area.