The election process in Lancaster County will be fair and efficient, and those involved in voter intimidation crimes or violent civil unrest will be prosecuted.
Those were the messages relayed Monday morning when local and federal officials gathered in Manheim to discussed voter process and law-enforcement plans for the upcoming Election Day.
“We are making sure to do everything possible to have a free and fair election,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William McSwain said at a gathering that included Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams and Commissioners Josh Parsons and Ray D’Agostino. “We want people to be confident in the election process and be confident in the results of the election.”
U.S. Attorney McSwain said federal authorities work in conjunction with local law enforcement to combat voter fraud, cyber crimes and any violent forms of protest or civil unrest.
District Attorney Adams said she is dedicating all resources to protect voters, the process, and the community from acts of violent unrest.
“We are very aware that the rhetoric surrounding the current general election has raised concerns over possible fraud and disturbances at polling places,” DA Adams said. “Anyone acting in any way to threaten or intimidate voters will be dealt with.”
Constables will be on the “front lines” at polling places, and will call on police for reinforcement as needed, Commissioner D’Agostino said.
As for the ballots, they will be physically secured – by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office – as they are transferred to the Lancaster County Convention Center for counting and processing once the polls close.
The tremendous number of mail-in ballots is expected to make this the “most challenging election we have ever had,” Commissioner Parsons said.
Commissioner D’Agostino said 120,000 mail-in ballot applications are expected – maybe more. He ensured that staff will be ready and able to handle the workload.
As for law enforcement’s proactive role, U.S. Attorney McSwain outlined three categories of crimes connected to the election:
- Cyber crimes, such as campaign interference, is typically perpetrated overseas in Russia, China and Iran, U.S. Attorney McSwain said. (U.S. Attorney McSwain said “hacking” of the election/voting “has not happened” and “will not happen.”)
- Fraud-related crimes, such as buying votes, ballot stuffing, and impersonation of voters.
- Violent acts of civil unrest.
“Protest is fine... It is part of the fabric of our society,” U.S. Attorney McSwain said. “But we draw the line at violence.”
“If you burn (something), attack police, we are going to crack down on you as hard as we can.”
Election complaints can be made HERE or to 1-887-VOTESPA.
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