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Preparing for a divisive election and beyond, how local law enforcement is getting ready

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The 2020 election is just four days away, and people have begun preparing to make sure everyone is safe during and after election day.

It's an election that some consider the most divisive of a generation, and talk has already begun about civil unrest in cities across the country regardless of the outcome.

A recent AP-NORC poll this month showed 7 in 10 voters say they are anxious about the election. Whether that be due to civil unrest, the results, or other general conflict.

Locally, law enforcement is hoping to assuage fears over violence at polls and in the street. Hoping to assure voters that they will be safe while voting, and if protesting afterwards.

On Friday afternoon, the Eureka Police Department posted a video to enforce the message.

"It is our goal to secure every person’s right to vote safely and without fear, peaceably gather, and be heard. But what we don’t want to see and are prepared to deal with are any acts of violence, intimidation or vandalism," said Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson in the video. "Our community is different and better than this."

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is also preparing for Tuesday.

In an email sent Friday morning, an HCSO spokesperson said the department will have extra patrols specifically at or near polling places to ensure staff and voter safety.

The email also touched on the possibility of protests and how it plans to respond.

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"The Sheriff’s Office has a specially trained team that responds specifically to protests. These deputies take a non-provocative stance and respond to civil unrest incidents to maintain protestor safety and property protection," the HCSO said in an email. "The Sheriff’s Office respects our community’s right to peacefully protest, but does not condone violence associated with protest incidents. If the need arises, this team will be prepared to respond and ensure safety of all participants."

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