Efforts to protect midterm election results underway across the US

Election 2022 Bad Ballots Fact Focus
Posted at 11:17 AM, Oct 31, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the candidates begin their final push for votes in the 2022 midterm election, a separate effort is happening behind the scenes to protect the outcome.

Craig Latimer is the supervisor of elections in Hillsborough County, Florida.

Latimer, who has served on a board known as the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections, has been preparing for the midterms for months.

"We have seen what is going on around the country," Latimer said.

Latimer says the committee has been working across the country to prevent worse-case scenarios and improve coordination with local law enforcement.

"It's imperative to me that we have those relationships with local law enforcement," Latimer said.

Latimer says local law enforcement is more prepared this year to handle issues such as voter intimidation, inappropriate poll watching and threats to election workers.

Many law enforcement officers, in the past, have been unaware of their role on election day, according to Latimer.

"Twenty years ago when I was in law enforcement, I had no idea the election laws that I would be expected to enforce," Latimer said.

The new cooperation is already evident in Maricopa County, Arizona.

That is where accusations of voter intimidation have occurred after individuals began watching ballot drop boxes.

Sheriff Paul Penzone, who is also a member of the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections, has deployed officers to protect some locations.

"We will be in as many places as we can," Penzone said at a press conference.

The effort to protect the vote isn't just a local operation.

The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Justice have devoted more resources to tracking threats.

A hotline, 800-253-3931, has been set up for anyone to call with a complaint regarding their local voting process.

FBI agents have been instructed to investigate voting complaints thoroughly.

Complaints can also be submitted through a link on the Department of Justice's website.

Voting rights are also at the center of legal battles across the U.S.

More than 100 lawsuits have already been filed ahead of the midterms, targeting everything from early voting to voter access.

Athar Haseebullah, who runs the ACLU of Nevada, said civil liberty groups have recruited dozens of lawyers in battleground states to rush to the courts should voting controversies arise.

"It seems as if courts are the last stand and democracy-based lawyering is becoming a critical focus, I think," Haseebullah said.