Philadelphia officials prepare for possible protests ahead of presidential election

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- City officials in Philadelphia say the city is prepared to deal with any disturbances or intimidation aimed at voters on election day and before.

"I'm kind of nervous, I guess, because of how polarized our country is right now," said Kaylee Honda from West Philadelphia.

Honda is in line with her friend at City Hall, to vote for the first time.

As an experienced voter, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner says this election is unlike any other.

"I have been a super voter ever since I was young, this is completely unprecedented," said Krasner.

Krasner adds he's concerned about people interfering with votes.

"We know there are people who are trying to suppress the vote, we are well prepared in the DA's office to prosecute people who think they can intimidate voters either by brandishing guns, or by threats, or by blocking their path in any way," said Krasner.

The Washington Post reports, FBI headquarters is planning its response for potential election day violence or mass protests in the days, following similar to the civil unrest the city saw this summer.

Where many businesses were vandalized and set on fire, or protestors blocked busy highways. The DA's office says they are prepared.

"On the right, on the left, someone out of law enforcement, someone who is in law enforcement, we are prepared to go in an even-handed way against someone who endangers Philadelphia," said Krasner.

In New York City, police officers of every rank could be deployed later this month, according to an internal memo obtained by CNN.

Philadelphia has a plan in place, but it's not being revealed for safety purposes, officials say.

"We're not going to give away the plan that the Philadelphia police have, or give away any of the plans that our criminal justice partners have to protect the city," said Krasner.

Some voters Action News spoke with in line at City Hall say they plan to be back at City Hall if there is a protest in November, but they want it to be peaceful.

"We can come out and tell them about how we feel out loud, hopefully people can be heard if they do come out and peacefully speak," said Mike Odom, from West Philadelphia.

"There's such a thing as peaceful protests," said Andre Brown, from Olney.

The DA's Office Election Task Force has increased for this election, adding attorneys and detectives who are available during every hour that the polls are open to respond if you have issues, according to Krasner.
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.