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Registrar of Voters Warns Against Voter Intimidation

"Voter intimidation is illegal and there are consequences associated with it, as much as a misdemeanor all the way up to a felony."

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San Diego’s Registrar of Voters, Michael Vu, met with law enforcement personnel Friday in preparation for the presidential election. One of the issues they discussed is voter intimidation.

The heightened concern over voter intimidation comes after President Donald Trump urged his supporters to “go into the polls and watch carefully” during the presidential debate Tuesday.

"Voter intimidation is illegal and there are consequences associated with it,” said Michael Vu, San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

He said nearly 2 million people are registered to vote, across the county. Seventy-eight percent are permanent mail ballot voters. The other 22% are expected to vote at the polls, but after the President’s call for people to “watch carefully”, Vu is prepared for more people to arrive at the polls.

“That’s fine so long as they’re [poll observers] within their bounds, rights and responsibilities to observe but not interfere with a person’s right to vote,” Vu said.

According to Vu, poll observers can be inside of a polling place, but they must abide by the rules.

“Where they cannot be is where people are returning and voting their perspective ballots. No cameras can be involved in that effort, again, to be free of any level of intimidation to our voters," he said.

He also said if someone wants to talk about the election, the person must be 100 feet from the polling place. Vu said site managers are trained to deescalate situations if there is a disturbance at a polling location. Law enforcement personnel are also on standby if needed.

“If we need to, we will contact law enforcement to remove those individuals away from the polling location,” said VU.

There are more than 230 official polling places in San Diego County. Vu said the location will open Oct. 31 and will be open four days a week to accommodate more voters while maintaining physical distance. 

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