Secretary of State Launches New Election Worker Safety Initiative

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Secretary of State Diego Morales said he wants to make sure poll workers and voters know what to do if they encounter a legal problem or physical threat on primary day.

In an interview with News 8 for “All INdiana Politics,” Morales said his new “Blow the Whistle” initiative aims to help poll workers understand their responsibilities and the resources available to them if something goes wrong. He said he met with election officials in all 92 counties to distribute information packets, including color-coded, football-style quick reference cards on when to contact his office and when to call 911. He also delivered naloxone in case someone comes into contact with a shipment of opioid-contaminated mail.

“The safety of our poll workers is priceless,” Morales said. “I hope they never use (the materials).”

The Brennan Center for Justice released a new poll Wednesday in which 38 percent of local election officials said they had been victims of intimidation, harassment or abuse. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a law in March that makes it a level 6 misdemeanor, punishable by up to two and a half years in prison, to obstruct or interfere with an election worker, or to threaten him. Morales said anyone seeing a potential problem at polling places can text 45995. They can also visit for polling locations and other information.

Morales said early voter turnout was up slightly from previous years, although he was not ready to declare positive turnout until he sees the results Tuesday. He said he wants voters to take the primaries as seriously as the general election. In addition to races for governor, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, voters will have to choose party candidates for state legislative offices and many county offices.

“This primary, we will elect who will be the governor appointee on both sides of the aisle, from the Senate down to the local level,” Morales said. “So this is an important election, and we shouldn’t take it for granted.”

Early voting ends Monday at noon. Polling stations open at 6 a.m. local time on Tuesday and close at 6 p.m. local time.

“All INdiana Politics” airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on WISH-TV.

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