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Law Enforcement Presence at Florida Election Spot After ProPublica Report of Hecklers

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the West Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections office yesterday in response to complaints, reported by Electionland, that supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump were shouting at voters through a bullhorn.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said deputies will remain at the site through Election Day. On Election Day, uniformed officers will be at the supervisor's office as well as at every other polling place in the county, spokeswoman Therese Barbera said.

Lee Skinner, a Hillary Clinton supporter who said she was among those who called in complaints on Tuesday, said the deputies’ presence had changed the atmosphere at the voting location.

"Oh yes, it was much better today," she said, adding that the plan for officers to return daily was "welcome news."

Skinner said the woman with the bullhorn did not return on Wednesday and that, while there were occasional disruptions from Trump supporters, the day was far calmer than previous days.

Barbera reiterated that the use of the bullhorn was not against the law. She said her office had instructed Trump supporters they were not allowed to be on the median, which is considered a violation. Videos in our previous post showed Trump supporters carrying signs on the median in front of the office and shouting at passing drivers using the bullhorn and an amplifier.

It's unclear if the Trump supporters are part of the local Republican Party, which has not returned repeated calls and emails. Clinton supporters volunteering as electioneers at the location said the people yelling at voters identified themselves as being for Trump, but did not appear to be affiliated with any formal organization.

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Portrait of Jessica Huseman

Jessica Huseman

Jessica Huseman covers voting rights and election administration for ProPublica.

About Electionland

ProPublica’s Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. Our coalition of newsrooms around the country are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more.

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