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Albany Prepared For Election Day 2020, Come What May

Albany County Board of Elections, the morning of Sunday, May 31.
Dave Lucas
Albany County Board of Elections, the morning of Sunday, May 31.

Capital Region authorities say they’re prepared but not expecting election night violence.

Several American cities have taken precautions to deal with social unrest tonight or in the nights to come. Storefronts in Washington and Manhattan are boarded up. In neighboring Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker activated 1,000 National Guard members.

"We've heard from a number of our colleagues in local government who've asked us to make the guard available if need be, sort of later in the week. And, but the goal here is to be supportive of local communities."

Back in Albany, where protests against police brutality turned violent earlier this year, Mayor Kathy Sheehan says a plan is in place.

"Well look, I'm the mayor, so I hope for the best but I also plan for the worst and we have been preparing for weeks now for the upcoming election and we don't have any reason to believe that we will have any unrest here in the city of Albany, but if there is unrest we are prepared for it. It's something that we've been working on, not only within the Albany Police Department but with our law enforcement partners at the state and the federal level, and so we are prepared, we are encouraging people to get out there and vote if they haven't voted."

Sheehan says County Sheriff Craig Apple is taking on responsibility for polling places and city police will be partnering with sheriff's deputies if needed to ensure that people can safely cast their votes. Apple shared his strategy with NewsChannel 13.

"This year we've got a large detail. I have a small contingent assigned directly to the Board of Elections. And we have a command post set up down there."

During the Floyd protests, demonstrators broke every window of the BOE building on South Pearl Street.

"We also will have deputies in every single town in city and the county. And we have a contingent of investigators and K-9's on in case there's suspicious packages or people try to upset the elections one way or the other."

Albany police spokesman Steve Smith:

"We are working collaboratively with the Albany County Sheriff's department to patrol polling places and we're working with the county Board of Elections to encourage anyone who needs police assistance or observes a situation at a polling place that may require the police to please call us at 518-438-4000. And in terms of what may happen afterwards we are certainly taking measures, we are preparing, we've been preparing for some time now. Hopefully we won’t have any issues - we don't have any information right now to indicate that there will be."

"If somebody tries to prevent you from voting, or if you feel intimidated, we want you to call 9-1-1, and we want to ensure that everyone gets out there and votes. But at this point, we don't have anything that indicates that there are going to be challenges here in the city of Albany. We wanna encourage people to get out there, vote, and make sure they're doing what they can to continue the proud tradition of democracy that we have here in New York state and in our country."

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