Cameras, barricades & glass dividers: Elections offices forced to change amid widespread threats

·2 min read

Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox has a picture of his son in his office from years ago. The picture shows a little boy reaching across the counter talking to the staff. Today, due to concerns over safety that picture would be impossible.

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“It’s changed so much,” says Wilcox who in the last several years has added cameras to the building, concrete barricades to the doors, and glass partitions to the lobby amid a nationwide rash of threats to election workers.

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Earlier this year the head of Florida’s Supervisors of Elections told a US House panel, “election offices across the state have been consumed with responding to numerous public records requests, debunking election myths, and increasing voter education efforts to strengthen voter confidence in the elections process.”

“It is very concerning that this, this, I don’t even know what to call it anymore, people want to throw accusations,” says Wilcox a former president of the Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections.

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In July of 2021 the US Department of Justice Launched a task force to address the rise in threats against election workers, with the DOJ investigating more than 1,000 cases already.

“It is definitely a concern,” says Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays. “Not long after I started a fellow walked in with no difficulty at all conducted himself, said some things that were frightening to the ladies that were there, I said that is the last time that will happen and the very next day we had the security enhanced.”

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But it’s not just offices under threat. This year Orange County Supervisor of Election Bill Cowles hired off-duty law enforcement to help protect polling sites and the delivery of ballots.

“We’ve continued to talk to our polling places and poll workers about what to expect and what to report,” says Cowles.

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