VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — Questions of possible voter intimidation are being raised after a man reportedly stood outside a Virginia Beach polling location with a German Shepherd that barked at passing voters Tuesday morning.
The person who took the photograph asked not to be identified but said it happened in front of the ARE voting site at 68th and Atlantic Avenue.
"I was very uncomfortable," the photographer told 13News Now.
The same picture was also sent to Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan, who posted it on Facebook.
"What the heck is happening in Virginia Beach??" McClellan wrote. "If this isn't voter intimidation, I don't know what is."
JoAnn Hofheimer with the Virginia Beach Democrats witnessed the incident. "He was saying 'You crazy Democrats.' and 'You're going to get your own.' And being intimidating," she said.
Chairman of the Cape Henry Precinct for Virginia Beach Republicans said the man is known around the North End and most likely meant no harm.
"If there were an issue, the electoral board people would have come out said you have to leave," said Bruce Meyer. "He's just enthusiastic, he's pro-Trump."
Election officials at the precinct told 13News Now reporter Steven Graves the man wasn't violating any laws and had the right to be there, standing beyond the minimum distance campaigners are allowed to be.
The Brennan Center for Justice defines multiple examples of voter intimidation including:
- Baseless or abusive challenges to voters’ eligibility.
- Direct confrontation of voters.
- Use of insulting, offensive, or threatening language or raised voices in and around polling places.
- Blocking polling-place entrances.
- Following and photographing voters, recording license plate numbers, and visiting voters’ homes.
- Brandishing weapons in front of voters.
Dissemination of misleading information about elections, including flyers or other communications that purposely misstate the time and date of an election, where it will be held, and how voting will happen.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you believe you've been subject to voter intimidation while trying to vote, the ACLU and USA.gov both have extensive ways for you to contact officials. The Voting Section of the DOJ also accepts complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws:
- By email at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail)
- By telephone at (800) 253-3931 (toll free)
- By telephone at (202) 307-2767
- By fax at (202) 307-3961
- By complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php
- By letter to the addresses below:
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
Room 7254 - NWB
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
The Tegna Central Content Team contributed to this report