AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Potter County Commissioners Court approved a memorandum that will provide funding for enhanced security resources at Potter County polling sites.

The memorandum states that the reasoning behind wanting enhanced security presence is due to the growing political divide that has become more severe, increasing the potential for violence at polling locations.

Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley stated that it is the duty of the presiding judge at each polling site to maintain order.

“There’s a lot of things that they’re watching, they’re trying to get people to vote and help them to vote, but they also have to make sure that there’s no electioneering and that people are really following all of the rules and just being respectful of one another,” said Melynn Huntley, Potter County Elections Administrator. “So with some of the tone across the nation, we decided it would be a good choice here to see if we could get some funds for security.”

Funding for election security is not always available. The last time Potter County increased its security presence was during the 2020 election. If an incident were to happen requiring law enforcement and there is none on site it could cause a call-out situation.

Huntley continued, “If we don’t have funds for this, and something happens is a call out and so the judges, the voters, the workers, everybody is having to wait their turn if something comes up. Sometimes if you just have an officer, they’re saying, Hey, how are you? Everybody just minds their manners, and they’re a lot more courteous to each other.”

Early voting in Texas began today and Potter and Randall Counties both said they had good voter turnout.

Randall will not have peace officers present at voting sites but is still ensuring the safety of its voters.

“We have offered a training to all of our workers about safety in the polling place and active shooter training, said Shannon Lackey, Randall County Elections Administrator.” “We have been in contact with our sheriff’s office about making frequent drive-bys in the parking lot and that sort of thing and they will just be helping keep an extra, extra eye out for anything that’s unusual and be available if we need them.”

Although Texas is an open-carry state, guns are not allowed on voting premises.

“It is still never allowed to bring a firearm into a polling place, stated Lackey.” “I think that’s very, very important to stress, because, again, open carry, everybody thinks you can take one everywhere, you may never take one into a polling place, unless you are a licensed peace officer.”

Security at polling sites will run from Oct. 24 until Nov. 8.