/ Modified nov 2, 2018 5:48 p.m.

Arizona Pollsters; Border Deployment; Practicing Civility

Plus, in their own words, voters share why they believe casting a ballot makes a difference.

As with any election, candidates, the media and the public have relied on polls to know which races are close. The midterm elections are no exception, and pollsters know they face added scrutiny after many predicted a loss for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. We learned how the industry has adapted since, from Mike Noble of OH Predictive Insights and George Khalaf of Data Orbital. Both polling firms are based in Phoenix.

With Election Day approaching, our occasional series "In Their Own Words" checked in with early voters in Tucson about why they believe their vote matters, and why others should cast ballots. They also shared their views on divisiveness in politics and how they define civility.

The Department of Defense says more than 7,000 active-duty military members are expected to deploy to the southwestern border in the coming weeks. The announcement comes following President Trump’s comment to discourage the caravan of Central American immigrants approaching the border.

In the Spring 2018, a smaller contingent of National Guard troops arrived in Arizona to support Border Patrol agents. Troops are currently working alongside customs officers at the ports of entry as well as Border Patrol agents in the field.

Prior to 2018, 6,000 National Guard troops deployed to the border from 2006 to 2008 for a mission titled Operation Jump Start. Every person assigned to work along the border spent a minimum of three to five days training prior to assuming their roles, according to Ed Balaban. Balaban is a former public affairs officer for the Arizona National Guard. He told Arizona 360 via Skype that troops were educated on the rules of engagement and operational security.

“It’s one of the first things that everyone is told: 'You are not there to stand shoulder to shoulder and prevent anybody from coming in. That’s Border Patrol’s job,'" Balaban said. "'You are there to support Border Patrol. And they will do what they have to do to hold up the laws of the country.'"

Early reports of the caravan of immigrants from Central America in October led President Trump to tweet about calling up the military and closing the border in response. Kristine Huskey, a professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, says the president can legally close ports of entry, but it's less likely he could stage troops at the border to act as law enforcement.

“There’s an 1878 act that prohibits basically our U.S. military troops from engaging in domestic law enforcement in the U.S.," Huskey said. "By law enforcement function we mean things like apprehension, arrest, search and seizure, interrogation and detention." According to Huskey, the military can act in a support role to law enforcement and federal agent along the border.

Communities nationwide are mourning with Pittsburgh, where a gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue in a hate crime. Mass shootings resonate in Tucson. Every year, the community remembers the six lives taken by a shooter at an event hosted by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Jan. 8, 2011. The tragedy gave rise to the National Institute for Civil Discourse.

Executive Director Carolyn Lukensmeyer discussed how Americans can come together amid a more polarized political climate. The institute offers training and workshops designed to promote bipartisanship in government and civility amongst citizens. It also offers resources online.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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