Mayor Walsh and Police Commissioner William Gross said today police presences will be ramped up over the next few days to deal with any potential consequences of Tuesday's election.
At a morning press conference at City Hall, Gross said that in addition to the usual polling-place police officers, BPD will have its full complement of patrols in neighborhoods as well as other assets that he would not specify - as would State Police.
"We do have assets in place if things go to the side of violence or civil unrest," he said. "We do have assets in place if they're needed." He said he wouldn't detail those extra resources or their deployment because he's following an old police rule: "Never let the bad guys know what you're doing." In this case, he said, that means "people who are hellbent on disrupting" the election.
Gross added that the average citizen won't see an "overwhelming" show of force by BPD - and said he hopes residents will help BPD by calling 911 or the anonymous tip line at 800-494-TIPS should they see something wrong.
Walsh declined to say if he's asked Gov. Baker to call out the National Guard, because he thinks the focus now should be on getting people out to vote tomorrow, if they haven't already cast a ballot. He told reporters he'd be willing to talk more about "negative" stuff on Wednesday.
Walsh said he's optimistic there will be no violence in Boston, but said that because of the high level of tension over the election, he can understand why some local stores and malls have decided to board windows and put in barriers.
"Remain calm, practice self care and set a good example" in Boston for rest of the nation," Walsh said.
"It's OK to have emotions, there's a lot of stake," but if you feel need to speak out directly, do so safely and constructively, he continued, urging residents: "don't react to social media" because there are "bad actors" out there trying to cause trouble. He said people should rely on "our own city of Boston news outlets" for accurate information.
Walsh rejected calls to declare a winner before midnight on Tuesday: It always takes longer than Election Day to count all the ballots, and will likely take longer this year because of all the extra mail-in ballots. He said that in Boston, 159,000 people have already voted early, whether through mail-in ballots or at early-voting locations. He said that tomorrow, mail-in ballots can still be dropped off a city drop-off boxes, including the ones at City Hall. However, people with mail-in ballots cannot drop them off at polling locations - if they want to vote there, they'll have to stand in line, hand over the ballots for destruction and then vote the regular way.
He had a request for anti-maskers: "Don't try and make a political statement by coming in without a mask to vote."
Boston will staff an election hotline tomorrow at 617 635-VOTE. Suffolk DA will have a hotline for irregularities at 617-619-HELP, but says call 911 first if you spot something blatantly illegal.