Keeping Polling Stations Safe with Little Green Button

Dec 1, 2020 | Panic Alarm, Safety and Security, Workplace Violence

At Little Green Button, we’ve made it our mission to protect workplaces across the United States, and the rest of the world. While polling stations may be staffed with volunteers, we believe it’s just as important – if not more so – that they be protected and remain safe places to volunteer. Not least because of the vital democratic process that they enable!

Now that we’ve got through the recent election and have a bit of a chance to reflect back on it, we’ve been thinking about how best to protect polling places. The last US election was extremely polarised, with many Americans now believing that the country is more divided than it ever has been.

The rhetoric around the election only heightened the tension both before and after, with President Trump’s urges to “watch the polls closely” being taken by some to increase the risk of voter intimidation – and his refusal to accept the results afterwards clearly putting significant pressure on poll workers.

It seems clear that there’s a fear that polling places could be targeted, either as an attempt to disrupt the entire democratic process, or by proponents of one candidate trying to prevent supporters of the other party from casting votes. Luckily, this hasn’t happened yet – but the level of civil unrest across the country certainly raises the stakes.

What’s the solution?

Well, it’s a complex issue – and unfortunately, all the political issues are a bit outside of our influence! But we do believe that panic alarm systems are ideal for high pressure environments like polling places.

Panic alarm, or duress alarm, systems are perfectly suited to scenarios where you need discreet responses to any potential issue that comes up. Whether the problem is simply extra verification being required for a voter, someone causing a disturbance, or serious incidents requiring emergency services response, a panic alarm system allows for fast, discreet escalation of issues so the right people can respond.

These panic alarm systems work well alongside other security protocols and procedures, and they can be easily added into existing set-ups. They’re great for providing an early warning system, alerting members of different teams, and providing a way to ensure that safety and security are at the forefront of everybody’s thinking.

How are panic alarm systems best used in polling places?

In a high footfall scenario like a polling station, though, how do you effectively police? It can be difficult to maintain a safe and secure environment with so many people moving in and out of the building. The key is to use both fixed points of contact and roving security staff to ensure you’ve got a good level of coverage of all areas of the building.

You can use both physical panic buttons as well as software-based solutions on desktop or laptop computers used at receptions or check-in desks. There are also apps that can be configured on mobile devices to allow roving members of security staff the same access to quick support should they need it.

The key thing is to ensure that all locations are correctly described and tagged within your panic button system, and that those with mobile apps have location tracking set up properly. You should then set up specific escalation paths so that the right people are notified of the right issues.

At Little Green Button, we’ve worked with public offices on enterprise-level security solutions. Check out our case study with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), where we provided a discreet escalation system designed to complement existing security protocols.

The United States may have just concluded an election cycle, but with tensions not looking likely to reduce any time soon, is it time to start thinking about the security protocols in your polling station? If you volunteer at a polling place, or you’re looking for a panic alarm solution across a district or area, speak to our friendly team. We’re always happy to help find the right panic alarm solution for your needs.