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NC election officials preparing for intimidation and threats with de-escalation training

Vote voting sign

North Carolina election officials are preparing for intimidation and threats in the 2022 election season by taking de-escalation training and working with the Department of Homeland Security.

NC Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said during a webinar that there have been increased threats to election officials since 2020.

She said they hope to de-escalate any situations that arise at a polling or election site; but if that doesn’t work, officials will call law enforcement.

Part of that work with the Department of Homeland Security involves training on physical assessments called SAFEs, which look at options for mitigating threats in facilities.

She also discussed poll-watchers, or observers, who are allowed to watch the voting procedure — but these must be people named by political parties and submitted to the board beforehand for approval.

And once they are within the polling place, they cannot approach voters or hinder the voting process.

Brinson Bell also said there’s been increased interest in this election; the Board of Elections statewide has received and accepted more than 35,000 absentee ballots — four times more than the number they had at this time in the 2018 election season.

According to Brinson Bell, one-stop early voting is the most popular voting method in North Carolina. That begins on Thursday.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.