Cuyahoga County, Cleveland authorities ramp up security for Election Day

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found local law enforcement is taking security measures for next month’s presidential election they’ve never taken before on Election Day.

We’ve learned Cuyahoga County will even open its emergency operations center. The center, generally, only opens when there’s a crisis, a really big event or potential for trouble. Election Day security has never been ramped up like this.

In fact, the I-Team found many agencies carrying out new security measures for the presidential election. This comes at a time with rage in the streets, claims of cheating at the ballot box and a bitter campaign.

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department is working on a security plan around polling places. While the department isn’t giving out any secrets, deputies are rolling out a detailed strategy tailored to what’s happening.

“We’ve got a nation that’s dealing with a lot of issues,” Sgt. Steve Bartczak said. “We just want to make sure we continue to do our part in preparing for a safe experience for the voters of Cuyahoga County.”

On election days in the past, Cleveland police often never had to deal with much more than traffic around the polls. But, the I-Team learned the Cleveland Division of Police is also preparing for much more, just in case.

Meantime, we’ve also found some Cuyahoga County judges will be on standby, ready to hear emergency legal disputes surrounding voting or polls. The feds plan a quick response team, too, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and others to handle what might come up with voting rights issues and more.

Earlier, elections officials told us, steps have been taken at the local and state levels to guard against cyber-attacks or hacking of election computer equipment.

We caught up with Common Cause Ohio, a government watchdog group, now watching everything swirling around the election.

“We just want to make sure that nobody feels intimidated,” executive director Catherine Turcer said. “Let’s make sure that people feel like this is the safest place they can be. This is an important duty of all us as citizens of Ohio and the United States to go and cast a ballot.”

While many voters are going to the polls early, Common Cause recommends every voter should have a plan for casting a ballot.

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