East Lansing police respond to report of voter intimidation

EAST LANSING, MICH. - Authorities were called to a polling location in East Lansing after receiving a report of voter intimidation.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said she received an email from a resident shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday in regards to a possible incident of voter intimidation.

Byrum said she contacted East Lansing Clerk Marie Wicks, who contacted law enforcement.

“I believe this was a valid complaint,” Byrum said. “I have zero tolerance for any intimidation or harassment of voters.”

Ron Fox, of East Lansing, said in an email that he contacted the Ingham County clerk's office Tuesday morning about the incident.

He said that while waiting in line outside a polling location at the Shaarey Zedek synagogue on Coolidge Road, he saw a man just outside the entrance pull two women aside who were wearing hijabs.

Fox said he saw both women showing their voter registration cards to the man, who was not wearing anything to identify him as a poll worker.

Fox said he notified poll workers inside and later observed poll workers telling the man "He did not need to be there." The man told the poll workers they should "ask Barb," Fox said in his email.

Fox said the man's interactions with the women seemed non-confrontational.

"I don’t know if he was trying to direct them to the correct polling place or attempting to mis-direct (sic) them to the wrong polling place," Fox said in an email to the Lansing State Journal. "Regardless, these women were the only ones he stopped, so I believe there was at least some profiling going on."

Wicks said she is uncertain who the man was, but said his actions were inappropriate. She confirmed a poll worker asked the man to leave. Wicks said the man appeared to have left by the time police arrived.

Byrum said voters who witness perceived voter intimidation or harassment should call police or notify a poll worker.

“Tell someone, speak up," Byrum said. "Don’t sit back and allow voter intimidation or harassment to happen in our county or our state."

Lansing State Journal


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