CARLETON CRONIN | What is WeHo doing to ensure safety at the voting booth?

All too often the roar of the crowd as it courses through our nifty clubs and happy eateries overwhelms the more sober sounds of concern for matters other than partying. Our city is known far and wide as a party venue, which view obscures what it takes to run a safe and secure home to 35,000 citizens — and the many other thousands who visit here.

Normally, our local government has a pretty good idea of how to handle safety and security — save for the roaming homeless. But, these days are not normal.

In the runup to the national mid-term elections on November 8th, the surge in untoward incidents of violence against political figures, election poll workers and others connected to local and national governments by people who have discarded reasonable thought for the poisonous ideology of a disgruntled and unhappy and addled individual with whom they find fraternity.  

Thankfully, little of that unrest has turned up in our town, yet I have concerns.

I know of very few who will actually go to the polling places, preferring to mail in ballots.  The last time I went to the polling place I was very carefully observed by a guy with a clipboard who was furiously scribbling on it. When I asked him what he was doing he replied that he was a “poll watcher”. 

I saw other people eye him warily. While his presence may have been quite legally acceptable, he colored the process with suspicion. When images of armed, masked people with cameras “watching” ballot drop boxes in Arizona appeared on TV, I knew we had gone far beyond poll watchers in intimidating ordinary citizens as they went about their singular best way to maintain our democracy –  exercising their voting rights.  

Here are my questions for the city authorities and, in particular, the safety division:

  • What plans does the city  have to provide safety and security for citizens at polling places – and for the workers therein?
  • Would it not be possible to station a few of the Block By Block people at our drop boxes? 
  • Could they also help outside polling places to be sure electioneering is kept at a proper distance?

Only a few days left to answer my questions.

I am well aware that many will laugh at my concerns — and that laughter IS part of the problem in maintaining our unique but fragile democracy.

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About Carleton Cronin
Carleton Cronin and his wife, Toby Ann, have lived in West Hollywood since 1974. They have raised four sons here, and Cronin has long been an astute observer of civic life. Carleton publishes the blog crobarcogito.blogspot.com

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:dpb
:dpb
26 days ago

No laughter here; I am right there with you. That West Hollywood was once a safer city certainly contributed to our party reputation. No be wants to think about safety when they’re partying. Now, we’re known for our robberies, drugs dropped in drinks and lack of policing. This is a large contributor to our less stellar new reputation. I would not want to see the reputation enhanced by voter fraud and suppression too.

john
john
26 days ago

Cameras should be watching the drop boxes. In CA it is legal to ballot harvest but in states that do not have one party rule it is illegal. If someone fills a drop box with water to destroy the ballots, wouldn’t it be nice to have that person on camera? Democrats equate security with voter suppression. No one is stopping anyone from voting. They were so upset about Georgia getting rid of some of the Covid voting measures (calling it Jim Crow 2.0). Meanwhile their elections have had record turnout since. Make it easy to vote but not to break… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
26 days ago

Very good questions, Mr. Cronin, and they deserve an official answer. I think your suggestions are an excellent use of Block by Block! One more question: Who is going to protect us from the corrupting forces of outside special interest money flooding the campaigns and what will likely be increasingly toxic messaging in the next eight days?

hifi5000
hifi5000
26 days ago

Mr. Cronin makes a good point about security at polling places in West Hollywood.However, I understand LA County is doing away with the traditional polling places you would find in garages and small businesses. The county is going to the centralized polling place concept where no matter where you are registered in Los Angeles County,you can vote in person. I found a couple of voting centers at Plummer Park and West Hollywood Park.I would think these central locations would have security already considering the political threats that have been made.Not sure if the city would be responsible for security,but I… Read more »

Never Thought of Security
Never Thought of Security
26 days ago
Reply to  hifi5000

West Hollywood City Staff perhaps never thought of this as they always come aboard after the fact, if ever.🙄

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