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  • Writer's pictureJefferson Weaver

Election Workers Claim Stalking

• Vandalism ramps up before Election Day

Two pollworkers at the Chadbourn one stop site told the sheriff’s office they were followed by a partisan observer last week.

Ann Hill and Dana Dale contacted the sheriff’s office after the male subject followed the women from the polls Nov. 2. The male subject reportedly videorecorded the women when they left during voting hours, following at least one of them to a private residence.

The pollworkers notified the Board of Elections, and the sheriff’s office is investigating the incident. The man was identified as a party observer working at the polls. It was not reported if he actually made contact with the alleged victims.

Patrick Gannon of the state board of election said it a crime to intimidate election officials while they are performing their duties.

“State elections officials are aware of reported incidents in Columbus County in which an individual trailed early voting workers by car as they left the voting site and photographed or videotaped election workers,” Gannon said in an email. “State and federal laws make it a crime to interfere with or intimidate election officials carrying out their duties. Penalties for violations include prison time, a fine, or both.

“We take these incidents very seriously. When they occur, we will work with our law enforcement partners on appropriate responses.”

While state law prohibits election employees from leaving a poll on Election Day, they may leave the polls during the early voting period.

Campaign-related vandalism has been on the rise during this years election, with both sheriff’s candidates reporting the theft and destruction of signs. A billboard for Republican Jody Greene was set on fire along Pine Log Road in October, and multiple yard signs have been stolen. A Hallsboro man also called the sheriff’s office after someone trespassed on his property and spun a vehicle across several political signs.

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