MANASSAS, Va. - With emotions running high on both sides of the race, some U.S. election officials are worried about safety at polling stations.
Local election offices are trying to figure out how to handle Election Day in the area and during a Prince William County’s elections board meeting the idea of gun free polling stations was brought up. Rob Williams, a chairman of the board of elections in Prince William’s county and Bob Marshall, Virginia State delegate spoke with FOX 5 about the issue.
“There were two questions that came up, one from election officer concerned about their safety and wanting to carry their issued concealed carried weapon in the polling place and from a different officer wanted their church facility, which is not a gun-free zone to be declared as a gun-free zone and the board discussed it and we say follow the code of Virginia,” Williams said. “ If the law allows it, and it does not create an issue at the polling place, that officer is allowed to carry their concealed carry weapons or we'll reassign them if not. In the case of the other one, we don't tell election places whether or not they can make it a gun-free zone or not. It’s entirely up to them and as long as they follow the law in Virginia, we're acceptable to that.”
Another question that came up during the elections meeting was whether or not guns at the polling stations could be considered a way to intimidate voters, Marshall weighed in saying, “It's not like the Black Panther in Philadelphia who had Billy clubs out and were really intimidating voters. The law allows it at a private facility – it doesn't allow it at a school or state courthouse, so to me, that’s fine.”
Private facilities can make their own decision to make election day a gun-free zone because it's their property.
Rob Williams says he believes that people will find it to be a fair election in Prince William County and he believes they will be free of violence.