This morning, Andrew Willis Garcés of Siembra NC mass-emailed a media release with the subject line ‘Greensboro Latinos Warn of Attempted Intimidation by ‘Poll Monitor’ at Voting Precinct.”
It contained the following allegation.
Today at 8:45am a single Republican poll monitor menacingly stood less than four feet away from a group of eight Latino activists as they waited in the line to early vote. Although there were dozens of people in line who appeared Black and white, he stood across from the only Latinos, pointedly taking notes on a clipboard as they progressed up the line. The poll monitor refused to identify himself.
The email also stated that poll monitor “approached the group only after they began audibly talking and laughing in Spanish, walking out of the UNCG precinct in order to hover over them.”
According to the media release, the group allegedly approached by the poll observer included Laura Garduño Garcia, a Greensboro DACA recipient who, along with other Siembra members, was accompanying an 18-year-old first-time voter to the polls.
“As voter intimidation goes,” the release quoted Garcia as saying, “this was 'amateur hour', but it's a good reminder that conservative activists will do anything to keep Latinos from voting. Standing over us taking notes is not going to discourage a group of activists. But it's these kinds of small acts that add up to voter suppression, especially when our people vote alone."
The alleged incident occurred at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Kaplan Center for Wellness at 1301 Gate City Blvd., where any registered (or registering) voter in Guilford County can vote during the early voting period of Oct. 15-31.
The media release was accompanied by photos of a white-haired white man in a dark blue vest and blue button-down shirt, wearing a lanyard badge reading “REPUBLICAN POLL OBSERVER”.
Designated poll observers are given complete access to all polling places in Guilford County. Each party is allowed to have to observers on site at any given time
At 11:30 a.m., this writer approached a man observing the line of voters outside the Kaplan Center, who appeared to be identical to the one in the Siembra NC photo, and wore the same badge. When I identified myself and asked him if he was aware of the allegations in the Siembra NC media release, he gave no response. When asked for a comment, he shook his head. When asked to identify himself, he shook his head several more times.
At 12:16 p.m., I called the office of the Guilford County Republican Party, located at 5500 West Friendly Ave. The receptionist initially seemed confused by my request to speak to a press or media contact, but eventually transferred the call to a woman who declined to give her name. When informed that YES! Weekly was seeking a response to the allegations by Siembra NC, she said, “I have idea what you’re talking about and cannot comment.”