Officials address vote security, election day safety

As we head into tomorrow, local police and election officials in the Bay State are encouraging people to vote and reassuring them they can feel safe.
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 3:31 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2022 at 5:35 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - We are just one day away from election day and as we head into tomorrow, local police and election officials in the Bay State are encouraging people to vote and reassuring them they can feel safe.

On Monday, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is committed to assuring people in Massachusetts that election results are reliable. He said since the presidential election in 2020, there has been a shift in people’s trust of the voting process.

“No one was speaking about the reliability of the results. No one was questioning what was going to happen. No one was questioning the process that somehow elections were going to be stolen,” Galvin explained.

That’s really been top of mind for some voters. However, Galvin said that mindset is disappointing, and people should have faith in the process, especially since Massachusetts has only paper ballots with no electronic voting methods.

“It’s greatly concerning, not just to those of us who run elections, or have sought elected office, but I think it should be concerning to every citizen,” Galvin said.

As for safety at the polling places, Galvin said he’s been in communication with both political parties about what he calls observers, or people who are simply watching the polling places.

“Observers are there to see. They are not there to question. They are not there to question the process,” Galvin noted.

Galvin said he doesn’t expect anyone to challenge those policies, but his office is prepared to handle anyone that does.

Western Mass News also checked in with local police departments to see how they are planning to keep polling places secure. The West Springfield Police Department told us they have police details assigned to all voting precincts with increased patrols at those places as well and Springfield Police will do the same.

As for voter turnout, Galvin did have some concerns. Early voter turnout, including already mailed-in ballots, have come out to about one million. He expects the voter total to be about 2.2 million, much lower than the 2018 election.

“I hope I’m wrong,” Galvin said.

We checked in with Holyoke for a look at their voter turnout. They’ve received approximately 3,508 ballots, which is about 12 percent of voters either voting early or by mail-in ballots.

Galvin said if any Massachusetts residents still have mail-in ballots, don’t put them in the mail. Instead, get them to your city clerk or a drop box.