Voter files complaint with Port Neches police claiming unlawful influence at the polls

Voter files complaint with Port Neches police claiming unlawful influence at the polls

On this final day of early voting in Texas, a Jefferson County voter has filed a complaint with the Port Neches police department.

She claims poll workers were trying to discourage people from voting in the Democrat primary.

She says it happened at the Hebert Library voting site pn Merriman in Port Neches. The voter told KFDM/Fox 4 that the workers there advised against cross over voting, claiming that if someone voted in the Democrat Primary, they would be locked in as a Democrat for two years.

Based on early voting numbers, it appears many traditional Republicans living in Mid-Jefferson County are voting Democrat this primary season. Southeast Texas political experts believe that's because attorney Tina Bradley is on the Democrat ballot for Jefferson County 172nd District Court judge.

Bradley lives in Port Neches, and is well-known in Mid and South Jefferson County.

The voter who filed the complaint shared a recording with us in which you hear a man identifying himself as the election judge for that voting site saying, "To be honest, you should always vote your party no matter who the candidate is, because what you've done is just jumped over, and said, 'I'm going to vote for the lesser of two evils', because you don't want a certain person in."

Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine says the incident is under investigation, and if it turns out to be more serious than a Class "C" misdemeanor, he'll turn the case over to the District Attorney's Office. Chief Lemoine says the complaint was filed Friday. Election day is Tuesday, March 6th.

We also checked with Jefferson County Clerk Carolyn Guidry, who oversees elections, she told us that unlawfully influencing a voter is a Class "B" misdemeanor.

Guidry says it would be a violation of Texas Election Code 61.008:

(a) A person commits an offense if the person indicates to a voter in a polling place by word, sign, or gesture how the person desires the voter to vote or not vote.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

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