At least one apparent attempt at voter intimidation in Connecticut Tuesday resulted in police being called in to investigate, according to Middletown election officials.
Republican Registrar of Voters Janice Gionfriddo says a man tried to put up posters at a Middletown polling place warning that voters without photo IDs wouldn’t be allowed to vote.
Connecticut law doesn’t require photo identification for voters, and Gionfriddo says poll workers at the Commodore McDonough Elementary School had a confrontation with the man when they tried to remove his posters.
“They took them down and he tried to put them back up,” says Gionfriddo. “This man was being very nasty.” She says poll workers then called Middletown police, but the individual left before the cops arrived.
“He didn’t show up that we know of at any other polling places,” Gionfriddo says. She adds that she doesn’t know who the man was.
Gionfriddo says Middletown officials haven’t yet reported the incident to state elections officials and haven’t heard whether Middletown police were able to track the man down. A spokesperson for the Middletown police failed to respond to several requests for comment Wednesday.
There have been scattered reports from across the nation about alleged attempts at voter intimidation and claims that voters were being asked for photo IDs when none were required by law. Several states recently passed anti-voter fraud laws that critics say were attempts by conservative Republicans to hold down the vote in minority districts, and court challenges blocked several of those laws from taking effect.
In Connecticut, a voter is asked to provide some form of identification such as an envelope or bill with their name and address, but even if a voter doesn’t have that he or she could still vote by signing an affidavit attesting that they are who they say they are.
Av Harris, a spokesman for the Secretary of the State’s Office, says state officials weren’t aware of the incident in Middletown.
“But we did hear about erroneous signs being put up” at some polling places concerning voter identification requirements, Harris says. There were also complaints that some workers at polling places in Hamden and Willimantic were improperly asking voters for photo IDs.
Harris says state elections officials immediately contact those polling places and “had to reeducate” those poll workers about the fact that photo IDs aren’t mandatory under Connecticut law.
Joshua Foley, a staff attorney with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, says putting up posters at Connecticut polling places with incorrect information about voter IDs “could very well be” a violation of state law.
He says it’s illegal for anyone to attempt to intimidate voters in any way or try to “make it harder for someone to vote.”