RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina’s attorney general released a joint statement with seven other attorneys general concerning voter intimidation.
“Voter intimidation is illegal in every state—whether it happens in person or from a car,” Attorney General Josh Stein said.
Stein’s statement comes after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it is now looking into a Friday incident in Texas where supporters of President Donald Trump aggressively surrounded a Biden campaign bus on a Texas interstate, according to the Texas Tribune.
As state attorneys general, we are working closely with our partners in law enforcement to make sure everyone has safe access to the polls. Voters have the right to cast a ballot free from intimidation or harassment, and we won’t tolerate anything less.
People who witness concerning behavior should immediately report it to law enforcement authorities.”NORTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL JOSH STEIN
Attorneys general from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all condemned voter intimidation on Monday.
“We are in a very divisive time and I want people to not be afraid,” said Stein. “In our democracy, you are the power. You’re the ones who decide the winners and losers.”
Stein said he’s been made aware of a few incidents of voter intimidation in North Carolina, including a case in Asheville.
“Voters were concerned about people who were out at the polls. They called local law enforcement and it was resolved immediately,” he said.
According to Stein, voter intimidation is any attempt to stop, block, or harass people attempting to vote.
He said voters should immediately notify the precinct judge or election officials at their polling place.
“If somebody makes you feel unsafe, then absolutely that intimidation. It can be harassing, they can be physically blocking you, they can be asking you about your citizenship or for your identification. None of that is appropriate,” he said.
Voter intimidation carries misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the action, according to Stein.
Stien said political parties can offer voters literature at polling places.
According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, buffers zones protect voters from harassment and intimidation when entering a polling place.
“Electioneering” is prohibited inside the buffer zone, which is typically 50 feet from the entrance to the polling place.
On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump has encouraged supporters to go into polling places and watch.
Stein strongly discourages this.
“Don’t do that. That’s terrible advice. In fact, it’s illegal. You cannot go into the precinct, in the voting area, for any reason other than to vote,” he said.
Each political party is allowed to appoint poll observers to precincts.
They must meet NCSBE requirements. While they are allowed to take notes, they cannot disrupt voters, election officials, nor speak to voters.