BUFFALO, N.Y. — In Betty Jean Grant’s opinion, “What we did was stop an illegal activity.”
The New York State Attorney General’s Office has another term for it, “voter intimidation”. And now Grant is the subject of a criminal investigation into a possible violation of state election law.
The probe centers on an appearance on Facebook live Saturday while Grant was early voting at the Delavan Grider Community Center on Buffalo’s East Side. Grant says she saw what looked like an unusual activity involving an older voter in a wheelchair.
“I took my cellphone that was in my hand and started recording,” said Grant.
The video shows a woman standing next to the older voter, pointing out where to cast a write-in vote for incumbent Mayor Byron Brown. The woman even produced a stamp to enter Brown’s name into the write-in space. Throughout the video, Grant can be heard repeating, “That’s illegal.”
A poll worker is also heard and briefly seen in the video telling Grant to stop recording.
“I’ve been in politics for a long time and assisted in campaigns. I never saw an outside citizen come in and assist somebody else without board intervention,” said Grant.
The video got the attention of the Attorney General’s office and on Sunday emailed a complaint to the Erie County Board of Elections directing officials to take immediate action. The issue was not the assistance the older voter received, it was the video that recorded how the vote was cast.
“What the Attorney General has said is that this is an emergency voter intimidation problem that happened and we are taking it very seriously,” said Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner.
On Monday, Grant was sent a letter from the election agency notifying her that she is banned from all Erie County polling places for the rest of the 2021 election balloting.
The matter was also referred to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. Spokeswoman, Kait Munro told 2 On Your Side, “Our office is investigating the matter after receiving a letter regarding the complaint from the Erie County Board of Elections.”
Additionally, Grant has been notified by the Board of Elections she is banned from all polling places for the rest of the balloting in the 2021 election.