Tempers are flaring during early voting in Dallas County, Texas, and reports of voter intimidation are on the rise. The county’s nonpartisan election administrator said that the harassment — including name-calling and interrogating voters waiting in line — is the worst she’s seen in decades. “I’ve been here for 30 years, and this harassment that’s going on, I haven’t ever seen the likes of this,” said Toni Pippins-Poole, the county’s election director. “I’ve seen some other things, props being used and whatnot, but nothing like this type of mentality or aggressiveness or demeaning type of actions.” At the Lakeside Activity Center in Mesquite, Texas, election administrators received complaints of a partisan poll watcher looking over voter’s shoulders as they cast their ballots and questioning voters on their politics. The person was later escorted out by Mesquite Police Department officers on Monday after refusing to leave the premises, according to Pippins-Poole.
Texas law requires that any form of electioneering — including passing out political literature or advocating for or against candidates or issues — can only occur more than 100 feet outside a polling location. Within that distance, poll workers can kick people out for causing a disturbance. When the nuisance is farther away, Pippins-Poole instructs her poll workers to call law enforcement.
Poll greeters at Dallas’ Lochwood Library reported being “harassed” and “verbally abused” and described a person with a bullhorn driving by yelling about “baby killers,” according to a tweet by the Texas Civil Rights Project, an organization tracking voting-related issues in the state. Despite notifying law enforcement, Pippins-Poole said the person has not been identified and the reports of harassment are ongoing.
At the Richardson Civic Center, multiple reports emerged of a person standing beyond the 100-foot-perimeter accosting voters as they arrived to vote, calling people “bipolar” and “alligators who live in swamps.” A videoposted on Twitter by the Texas Civil Rights Project shows a person pacing and yelling about similar subjects.