BOSTON (CBS) – On the night before the 2020 presidential election, 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard are on standby. Governor Charlie Baker called up the soldiers earlier in the day. Law enforcement officials say there is no indication of a threat but security plans are in place.
“Each and every hour of the day will be covered by a staffing level that will accommodate calls to service, to protect our neighborhoods, our businesses, and definitely our voting polls,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Gross.
As of Monday, 2.3 million people have already voted early; that’s nearly half of all registered voters. Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin anticipates at least a million more, and then some, will cast their ballots in person Tuesday.
Big turnouts are expected in cities like Boston, Taunton, and Fall River, where officials have processed mail-in ballots for roughly 20 percent of its registered voters. This year, a change in rules allowed local election officials to begin processing ballots as early as October 25. Clerks receive the ballots, voters are marked off lists, and ballots are removed from their envelopes and run through a counting machine. All of it had to be done in public view.
“It’s a relative and methodical process,” said Ryan Lyons, IT administrator for the Fall River Board of Elections. “We have to slowly check them in and then feed them into the machine, one by one, one precinct, one team at a time,” Lyons said. “It’s a public process. Anyone is welcome to join us during the day so far no one has been interested. But [know] your vote will be counted. It’s safe and secure, just have faith in our democracy.”
The Justice Department is also planning to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws.
Federal agents will be scanning polling sites in 18 states. Boston, Malden, Springfield, Quincy and Lowell are on the list.