As Americans fulfill their civic duty by casting their ballots on Election Day, allegations of voter intimidation are plaguing some polling site, including one in Brooklyn, New York, where a Trump supporter was caught on camera yelling “I’ll put you in the hospital” at a person reportedly there to vote.
Kathy Park Price, who was serving as a volunteer election observer in New York City, posted videos of the incident on Twitter. She said the alleged electioneering occurring at a polling site in South Slope, Brooklyn.
The man appeared to have stopped his car, decorated with large “Trump 2020” flags, on the opposite side of the street from the polling site. He had gotten out of his car and walked partway across the street.
“Hear this Trump supporter threatening physical violence,” she wrote. “He’s been here for 50 minutes.”
She also shared a video of her reporting the alleged voter intimidation to an NYPD officer. “That’s why we’re here, to make sure … he’s not allowed to do any approaching,” the officer could be heard saying. “I will refer it to my supervisor … and based on that we’re going to make our decision.”
The Trump supporter told the New York Post he and his adult son had just been driving by the polling site when voters had been cursing at them and giving them the middle finger.
“I came here with my son. We were driving by — stopped here to take him to go vote, to exercise his constitutional right to cast a vote for his president,” the man told the Post. "They said I was to be electioneering. A whole crowd started forming. They were giving us the middle finger. They were cursing at us."
The NYPD later said in a statement: “Upon investigation, the vehicle was an appropriate distance away. There was no interference with voting.” They added that the car was at least 100 feet away.
Park Price, however, insisted that the man was within 25 feet of the polling site. The police also said the Trump supporter and another voter were harassing each other outside the polling site.
Meanwhile in North Carolina, a former Republican candidate for the state’s House of Representatives, was arrested on Election Day at a polling station while armed and wearing a pro-Trump hat, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department said in a statement.
Justin Dunn, who unsuccessfully ran for the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2016, had previously been banned from that same site earlier in the day. He had already cast his ballot at the polling site that morning but “continued to loiter” with the possibility of “intimidating other voters,” authorities said.
The 36-year-old had also been “legally carrying an unconcealed weapon” when he was asked to leave, cops said.
But Dunn came back a few hours later, which is when police arrested him for second-degree trespassing. However, he was not charged with voter intimidation, authorities told Buzzfeed News.
Dunn, however, said he was actually the one who experienced voter intimidation. He said he was “yelled at by BLM people” and “to combat what I thought was intimidation, I said a prayer. I thought it was good to go back there to let everyone know I was there legally,” he told Buzzfeed News
In Alabama, a woman who said she was acting as a volunteer non-partisan poll monitor when she said she was pursued by a sheriff’s deputy and threatened with arrest on the morning of Election Day.
"He said I was disturbing the peace and blocking voters from voting at that precinct," Vivianna Rodriguez told the Montgomery Advertiser. "I was detained, I sat there and spoke with them for 20 to 30 minutes. He told me if I showed up and tried to monitor at any of the other polling sites, I would be arrested.”
Rodriguez said she has volunteered for the position for three years, and her duty was to check rural polling places for accessibility and disability compliance. Her normal routine was to examine parking spaces and wheelchair access, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
While some of her visits went smoothly, other places told her she had to leave, or that she was not legally allowed to be there. She drove away from the scene when authorities were called, and that’s when she noticed the deputy trailing her in his car.
Eventually, Rodriguez said she was let off with a warning but she was told that she could still face possible charges if she continued visiting polling sites.
Autauga Probate Judge Kim Kervin said the deputy was deployed because of reports a poll monitor had been inside polling places taking photos. “We had reports that this poll monitor had approached voters in the polling place harassing them,” Kervin told the Montgomery Advertiser. “She can be outside the polling place as long as she doesn’t interfere with voters. But she can’t be inside the polling place.”
Poll watchers registered with a particular party are allowed to monitor election conditions from inside polling locations, and while non-partisan monitors are not allowed within the polling sites, they are allowed to monitor from outside, the Alabama Secretary of State said ahead of Election Day.
Rodriguez, however, insisted she didn’t step foot inside any polling location, nor did she harass any voters. “My goal was to make sure that every voter had a safe and accessible voting experience there,” she said.