Mayor Svante Myrick has asked the Ithaca Police Department to patrol polling places in Ithaca on Election Day for the first time to prevent voter intimidation and voter fraud.
This is in response to comments made by Donald Trump calling on his supporters to monitor polling places for voting fraud, sparking fears of minority voter intimidation.
Lorraine Minnite, chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University–Camden and author of the book “The Myth of Voter Fraud,” said voter intimidation of minority populations, such as African-American voters, is much more of a concern than voter fraud.
Though there have not been any direct threats of voter intimidation in the Ithaca area, there were still concerns after Trump’s comments, said Dan Cogan, chief of staff for the mayor’s office.
“It’s a reflection of what’s happening on the national stage,” Cogan said regarding the decision.
Cogan said there will be no noticeable difference at polling stations Nov. 8. He said the monitoring will simply consist of police officers’ periodically checking on polling places to make sure everything is running smoothly but that he does not expect any intimidation or fraud.
“We don’t expect it; we haven’t heard of it here,” Cogan said regarding voter fraud. “This is to give voters peace of mind at the polls.”