Reports of alleged voter intimidation and interference in NC ahead of Election Day

"We want people to be able to cast their ballot without fear," an official said.

November 7, 2022, 10:52 PM

Sixteen incidents of alleged voter intimidation, harassment or interference of voters and election officials have been reported to North Carolina elections officials since the start of early in-person voting, the State Board of Elections (NCSBE) confirmed to ABC News on Monday.

These reports are under review by the board's investigative unit, which will then determine whether they need to be elevated. Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the NCSBE, who discussed the alleged incidents during a Monday news conference, said several actions could follow.

"There could be situations where depending on the circumstance, it could be a voter intimidation or something that interferes with the voter's ability to cast their ballot; those could be raised to [the Department of Justice] and civil rights violations," Brinson Bell said. "But we are not the prosecutors. We will turn that over to DOJ or potentially it could be a situation that would be turned over to a district attorney."

PHOTO: People wait to vote in Charlotte, N.C., Nov.5, 2022.
People wait to vote in Charlotte, N.C., Nov.5, 2022.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

The reported incidents have occurred in multiple counties, including Wake, Guilford and Hartnett, according to the board.

Some incidents included individuals photographing or recording one-stop workers in their vehicles and poll observers getting too close to voters.

During the news conference, Brinson Bell pleaded for civility heading into Election Day.

"We want people to be able to cast their ballot without fear of intimidation or interference," Brinson Bell said. "We ask that people recognize that these are bipartisan officials who have been trained to do the job of a precinct official, and they are going to ensure that the voters are able to cast their ballots."

PHOTO: People wait in line to vote at Bank of America Stadium, Nov. 5, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C.
People wait in line to vote at Bank of America Stadium, Nov. 5, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

There have been similar reports of possible voter intimidation elsewhere this cycle. In Arizona, 18 complaints of harassment and intimidation have been recorded by the state's secretary of state's website.

"Voters should be able to cast their ballot without fear of intimidation," Arizona secretary of state spokesperson Sophia Solis said in a statement to ABC News. "We encourage anyone who experiences intimidation at a voting location to contact their county recorder, Secretary of State's Office, or law enforcement."

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to clarify that the 16 incidents reported to the North Carolina State Board of Elections included incidents of alleged interference as well as nine incidents of alleged intimidation or harassment.

ABC News' Ali Dukakis contributed to this report.

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