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St. Joseph County Election Board says voters cannot “just show up” to be poll watchers

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 6:56 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Those planning the next election in St. Joseph County didn’t plan on President Trump urging his supporters to become election “watchers.”

“We can’t have people there just showing up to be watchers. Those have to be coordinated efforts through their respective Democrat and Republican parties,” said St. Joseph County Election Board Chair Catherine Fanello. “I’m concerned with those kind of statements being made by the President of the United States-those kinds of statements potentially could cause chaos, confusion at the vote centers on Election Day.”

The President made the comment during Tuesday’s debate saying additional election watchers were needed to prevent tens of thousands of ballots from being manipulated.

Fanello says there are checks and balances in place every step of the way in the election process.

Teams of Republicans and Democrats oversee everything from running the polling places to counting the votes.

Now they’re trying to figure out what to do with voters who refuse to wear a mask in the polling place. Such individuals can’t be turned away, and can’t be sent to the front of the line.

“And so that’s something we’re going to talk to the health department about,” Fanello said. "How best to manage everyone in the lobby you know so people feel safe and comfortable voting.

In the past election officials formed a travel board that would visit hospitals and nursing homes so residents there could vote.

With access to such facilities cut off due to the coronavirus, the plan is to train facility employees to perform the task.

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