An Indiana election office reportedly expelled a Democratic poll worker over allegations he pressured voters not to vote for certain candidates and even shortlisted Democratic candidates on a voting machine last week , local election officials told Fox News.
The incidents took place at a polling place in Carmel, Indiana, under the Hamilton County Board of Elections. Hamilton County Election Administrator Beth Sheller declined to confirm the identity of the poll worker in an interview with Fox News Digital, but detailed a report from the polling place inspector.
Sheller said the inspector had knowledge of two separate incidents that may constitute election propaganda and election interference. The poll worker, first identified by Chalkboard Review executive director Tony Kinnett as James Zheng, is now being investigated by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and Sheller says that she hopes to see Zheng prosecuted.
The first incident took place early Thursday evening as a group of education activists stood outside the Carmel polling station and advocated for pro-parent school board candidates. Sheller says the worker spoke with a pair of black voters who entered the polling station and urged them not to vote for pro-parent candidates, arguing that activists outside were “racist”.
This pair of voters then voted and approached the activists outside, telling them what the poll worker had told them. Activists, which included a campaign worker for one of the candidates, then raised the issue with the workers inside.
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The inspector then became aware of a second incident, this one involving potential interference in the elections. Sheller said the poll worker was helping a voter with an electronic ballot and pressed the “direct Democrat ticket” option during the explanation. She said the voter was then confused about how to change the selection and raised the issue with another nearby poll worker. That worker fixed the problem, allowing the voter to vote legitimately, and then told the poll inspector what had happened, Sheller said.
Hamilton County GOP Chairman Mario Massillamany argued the incident raises questions about how many voters were confused after receiving help from Zheng, but didn’t go through with it. complain to other officials.
Sheller says she is confident the two incidents were isolated, however, arguing that election workers would have been made aware of other instances of wrongdoing.
Sheller and the poll inspector had Zheng fired, and Sheller announced on Friday that he would not be allowed to return to the polling station. She also told Fox News Digital that she hoped he would be prosecuted. She added that she contacted Hamilton County Democrats Chair Dayna Colbert to provide a replacement, which she did.
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Massillamany condemned the incident in a statement on Saturday.
“This should serve as a wake-up call that those desperate to retain power or gain power will do anything – including breaking the law – to thwart efforts by parents and taxpayers to replace our school boards with public servants who more accurately reflect the values of our community,” he said.
“If you see anything suspicious, please report such activity immediately to an election worker or other election official,” he added.
The incident comes days before midterm elections in which Republicans are expected to make big gains nationwide. Authorities across the country are seeking to crack down on voter intimidation at polling stations on Election Day.
A federal judge ordered a group of armed members of Clean Elections USA to stay at least 250 feet away from some polling places in Arizona last week after voters claimed guns and masks were intimidating.
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US District Court Judge Michael Liburdi also said they cannot film, speak or shout at voters or come within 75 feet of any ballot box or the entrance to a building that houses one. a.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.
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