2010 midterm elections
11:25 am
Fri October 22, 2010

Claims of Voter Intimidation Arise

As Texans across the state continue to hit the polls this week for early voting, several reports have surfaced of voter intimidation. The Houston Chronicle reports the most recent allegations have been in Harris County:  

[V]oters called the county attorney about alleged intimidation by poll watchers; constables ejected a woman from a polling station for wearing a political T-shirt; and Commissioner El Franco Lee felt compelled to deny an Internet rumor that he had yelled at poll watchers to leave their posts.

Both Lee and Assistant County Attorney Terence O’Rourke have commented that the allegations are overblown and are merely part of an effort to confuse voters. O’ Rourke also said he did not find any of the instances to warrant the filing of criminal charges. Many of these intimidation charges are related to the True the Vote, a group connected to the Tea Party, whose poll watchers have been accused of questionable actions under the guise of helping voters. As reported by “Talking Points Memo”:

[P]oll watchers were accused of "hovering over" voters, "getting into election workers' faces" and blocking or disrupting lines of voters who were waiting to cast their ballots.

True the Vote has denied these accusations of voter intimidation and claim they are politically motivated to undermine the group’s (and to a greater extent the Tea Party’s) message.