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Politics

Local Leaders Sign Civility Pledge Amid Rising Political Tension

A worker with a face mask and gloves sorts through mail-in ballots at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters in this photo taken Oct. 16, 2020.
KPBS Staff
A worker with a face mask and gloves sorts through mail-in ballots at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters in this photo taken Oct. 16, 2020.

As election day approaches, there are concerns about rising tensions. There have been multiple local efforts in recent days to encourage safe, respectful and civil responses to the election.

One of those efforts is a bi-partisan Civility Pledge led by Rev. Shane Harris.

Local Leaders Sign Civility Pledge Amid Rising Political Tension
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

“I’m standing here today with leaders from all backgrounds, all political parties, all races to say we want civility back in this country,” Harris said at a news conference Friday. “We pledge as Americans to be respectful, dignified, safe and fair.”

Over 25 local leaders have signed the pledge so far, including County Supervisor Jim Desmond, who also spoke at the news conference.

“One of the great things that really sets our country apart from the majority of the world is our ability to vote freely for those who we want to lead our cities, our county and our country," Desmond said. "While we don't always like the results we have to demonstrate civility and respect towards each other after the elections.”

Along the same line, the Vista-based civic organization Universidad Popular hosted an online training course calld "Election Protection & Voting Rights Defenders."

Co-founder Arcela Nuñez said this is in response to predicted voter intimidation at polls this year.

“We want the voice of the people to be heard. We want that participation to happen as it’s supposed to happen,” she said.

RELATED: San Diego Officials Prepare For Surge Of Voters Ahead Of Election Day

Lt. Shawn Takeuchi of the San Diego Police Department said in a press release that a state statute intended to prevent voter intimidation prohibits anyone in possession of a gun to be "stationed in the immediate vicinity" of a polling place without written authorization of "the appropriate city or county elections official."

San Diego law enforcement officials also say they are prepared should the political divisions turn into civic clashes on the streets as ballots are cast and counted.