Accusations of bullying, intimidation and voter abuse at polls

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:


NORTH CAROLINA - Channel 9 is investigating accusations of bullying, intimidation and voter abuse at polls.

Early voting has been on fire in North Carolina, and tempers have been flaring along with it.

The contentious election has led to cursing, fighting and even a trip to a hospital and all happened outside early voting locations.

Jessica Smith was back in line to vote on Wednesday because when she tried to vote on Monday, a man approached her.

"He asked was I voting for Obama just because I am black. I left because I felt very uncomfortable," said Smith.

There have been statewide reports of opposing campaign supporters cursing and fighting, breaching the 50-foot buffer or moving the barriers.

In Wake County, a supporter knocked over an election worker, sending the worker to a hospital.

"It's more intense and more combative than any time in my history. People are passionate, but they don't need to forget their civility," said North Carolina Election Director Gary Bartlett.

The state sent a memo to every county on Tuesday asking officials to protect voters.

Dee Dee Henry called the tactics unnecessary.

"I'm truly shocked. Voting doesn't call for someone to be so aggressive," said Henry.

A talking pumpkin on Halloween is part of one volunteer's lighter approach.

"Help yourself, take as much as you like," the pumpkin said.

Judge Charlotte Brown-Williams, campaigning in front of Veterans Park, said, "The key to poll-working is being nice. If they do not want your information, don't push it on them."

Many voters say supporters at the polls, aggressive or nice, won't change their mind.

Eyewitness News didn't find any reports of voter intimidation or abuse locally.

If a supporter makes anyone feel uncomfortable or goes inside the 50-foot barrier to campaign, one should immediately tell election officials inside the polling location.