High alert: Security tight around US for Election Day

Justice Department to monitor the polls around the country

A ballot drop off box in Portland, November 7, 2016 (KOIN)
A ballot drop off box in Portland, November 7, 2016 (KOIN)

NEW YORK (AP) — Police officials in New York say they plan a show of force for Election Day equal to New Year’s Eve in Times Square and last year’s visit by Pope Francis.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and top NYPD officials said Monday that more than 5,000 police officers will be assigned on Tuesday to secure midtown Manhattan, where both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will spend election night. Police also will be posted at polling places across the city.

The contingent includes heavy weapon units trained to respond quickly to terror threats. Both uniformed and plainclothes officers will flood the subways and crowded areas like Times Square.

Streets will be closed around the New York Hilton, scene of Trump’s gathering, and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, scene of Clinton’s festivities.

In the Portland region

In Portland, PPB Sgt. Pete Simpson told KOIN 6 News they will add extra patrol officers on Tuesday. They’re anticipating emotional outbursts of joy or anger.

He said it’s important to have the resources available and to pay attention to what happens in the Eastern Time Zone, which may be a precursor for any protests in Portland.

The Vancouver police told KOIN 6 News they have no special plans for Election Day.

Monitoring the polls

President Barack Obama votes early at the Chicago Board of Elections in Chicago, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Obama is spending the weekend in Chicago. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama votes early at the Chicago Board of Elections in Chicago, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Obama is spending the weekend in Chicago. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Justice Department says it will send more than 500 staffers to 28 states on Election Day to monitor the polls. That’s a 35 percent reduction from the number four years ago.

Department officials say personnel will be sent to 67 jurisdictions to watch for potential civil rights violations. Monday’s announcement comes amid rising concerns about voter intimidation, particularly aimed at minorities.

The number of personnel is less than the roughly 780 monitors and observers who were dispatched in 2012.

The Justice Department has said its poll-watching presence has been curtailed by a 2013 Supreme Court opinion that gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

In a statement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the department is committed to ensuring that every eligible voter can participate in the election.