Texas

‘I was floored:’ Election judge made racist comments, shoved voter, Texas woman says

Texas election official filmed yelling at voter resigns

Williamson County election official Lila Guzman resigned her position after a video of her yelling at a voter was released on social media.
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Williamson County election official Lila Guzman resigned her position after a video of her yelling at a voter was released on social media.

A Houston woman’s trip to the polls on Election Day ended with a call to deputies, after the voter said an election judge made racist comments, yelled at her and shoved her.

Rolanda Anthony was at a north Houston church to cast her ballot in the midterms when an assistant election judge questioned Anthony’s residency, Anthony wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday morning. The judge said repeatedly that Anthony’s address was incorrect, even as Anthony said it was the right one, the post said.

The argument was over Anthony’s voter registration, with the judge telling Anthony it was illegal to change her address at the polls on Election Day, the Houston Chronicle reported. But when Anthony challenged the judge further, the judge responded with a racist comment, Anthony said.

“Maybe if I wore my black face make up today you’d be able to understand me,” the poll worker said, according to Anthony.

The Chronicle reported that witnesses said they heard Barnes make the comment.

Anthony was shocked.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz and his challenger, Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke both greeted supporters in Houston on October 28, 2018. The Texas Senate race is one of the most closely watched in the U.S.

“At that point, I was floored,” Anthony said in an interview with Houston TV station KTRK. “I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t believe she just stated that.’ ”

Anthony walked away from the judge, but the judge followed her through the voting site, yelled at her and “got in my face,” Anthony wrote on Facebook.

Anthony threatened to call police.

“She had the audacity to say I’m white they’ll arrest you and charge you with a crime not me, haven’t you seen the news,” Anthony wrote.

The sheriff’s office said Juanita Barnes, the judge, was cited for assault by contact in the incident, KTRK reported. Anthony also identified Barnes as the judge in her Facebook post.

The sheriff’s office said in a tweet that Barnes “allegedly bumped a female voter during an argument.”

Sheriff’s office spokesman Thomas Gilliland told KTRK that the citation was a misdemeanor because the incident was “not fisticuffs,” but “more of a shoving and unwanted contact.”

The Harris County sheriff tweeted about the incident.

“Voters and poll workers should feel safe from harm while participating in our democratic process,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote. “We will not tolerate any form of violence or intimidation at the polls.”

The presiding election judge at the site stepped in to separate Anthony and Barnes, and another poll worker quit because she objected to Barnes’ behavior, the Chronicle reported.

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