Election officials hear complaint on campaign volunteer

Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Local election officials received a complaint this week regarding a campaign volunteer breaking the 100-foot boundary around the polling place and telling voters who to cast their ballots for.

Carter County Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris said she and her staff received a complaint on Wednesday from a voter who was inside the early voting polling place when they observed a campaign volunteer following a voter into the polls and then overheard them tell the voter who to vote for. The person filing the complaint identified the campaign volunteer as a relative of one of the candidates in the County Primary Election.

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After receiving the complaint, Harris said she spoke with the precinct officer for Early Voting as well as other poll workers regarding the incident. The poll workers confirmed that the woman had accompanied several voters into the polling place, stood with them as they cast their ballots, and had been overheard telling the voters which candidate to vote for.

“I told the officer and poll workers that she has already voted and has no reason to be in here,” Harris said. “If a voter needs assistance, that is what the machine operators are for.”

Harris said her staff can provide voters with any assistance they need in casting their vote but will not suggest or endorse any candidate to vote for.

After receiving the complaint, Harris said she contacted officials with the State Election Commission and made them aware of the complaint.

Under state law, during early voting the Election Commission Office is an official polling place, which means the 100-foot boundary on campaigning is in effect for the office building as well as the parking area. Campaign materials such as signs, hats, t-shirts, buttons, or campaign literature are not allowed within 100 feet of a polling place under state law. Candidates for office as well as campaign workers are also supposed to remain outside the 100-foot boundary unless they have official business to conduct inside the Election Commission Office.

Anyone who has a complaint regarding a candidate or campaign worker violating election laws is asked to contact the Carter County Election Commission at 423-542-1822.