The following allegations are the subject of a complaint to be filed with the Hudson County Board of Elections by Emily.
Emily was 'allegedly' harassed by a woman who claimed to the "head of the polling station" at Ward 3-District 4 as she handed out 5 o'clock cards for Forward Together slate 1-2-4.
In her own words:
"At approximately 6pm on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, I approached a group of people who included several supporters of the Parents United slate who were standing outside the poll station located at 455 9th Street (Columbus Gardens) in Hoboken – Ward 3, District 4.I am sorry that this 'allegedly' happened to you, Emily.
I asked the group where I could stand along with my two children (ages 4 and 19 months, in stroller) to hand out voter information that would be in compliance with the 100 feet distance requirement, since the entrance to the polling station was not visible from the street entrance. I was wearing a 1-2-4 tee shirt and button, and had a stack of cards approximately 4x6 inches in size.
The Parents United supporters along with a Hoboken Police Officer informed me that I should stand at the first set of benches located to the left of the polling station entrance, where I proceeded to stand with my stroller and 4 year old in order to hand out cards with information on the 1-2-4 Board of Education slate.
Approximately 10 minutes later, a woman came out from the polling station in a rage, yelling: “Who is giving out these cards?” with 4-5 of the cards for BOE candidates 1-2-4 I had handed out in her hand. Immediately the Parents United workers who were also standing by the benches handing out Parents United materials came over to address the woman, as they seemed to know her personally and by name. They asked her to calm down and pointed out that I was standing there with my children (“She has babies with her” and “Her children are upset”).
The woman identified herself as head of the polling station and stated that it was illegal for me to hand out the voter information cards, which was why she confiscated them from voters in the polling station.
I explained to the "head of the polling station" a police officer had also been present for my exchange, with Parents United supporters affirmed and agreed with – they added that in fact they had been in that same location all day because it was in compliance with the 100 foot rule.
When a man who had been passing by began to engage her in an attempt to specifically identify her concern, I was able to turn on the camera of my cell phone to capture the incident on video without causing additional disruption.
The video documents the inappropriate behavior of the "head of the polling station" and the manner in which she spoke to me in front of my children.
My children were scared and upset by her manner – my 4 year old can be heard asking why she was angry at her for handing out the cards.
The "head of the polling station" told me that it was illegal for me to vote while wearing a tee shirt supporting 1-2-4 . [GA note: Emily had voted earlier at 3-5]
The "head of the polling station" told me I had to stand across the street from the polling station – just me and not the Parents United workers handing out their cards at the same location.
When I pointed out that she only had the 1-2-4 cards in her hand despite the Parents United supporters having handed out similar cards, the "head of the polling station" claimed that that was not the case. In response, a Parents United worker showed the ""head of the polling station" she was, in fact, handing out Parents United cards, too.
This incident was both ugly and concerning as a resident of Hoboken and Hudson County. this behavior was inappropriate and egregious given the presence of my very young children and their obvious fear of her conduct.
Further, I have concerns about the integrity of the polling station for her to have such clear misinformation about my rights as a citizen to distribute information to voters in a peaceful manner in compliance with election laws.
The Hudson County Board of Elections must hold the "head of the polling station" responsible for this incident and her inappropriate behavior. It is not acceptable to treat citizens in this manner, particularly in the presence of young children.
Further, "the head of the polling station" is clearly not fit to be the head of a polling station in Hudson County – if, indeed, she represented herself in this incident accurately – given the misinformation she perpetuated in this incident."
Emily has since notified the Office of the Mayor of Hoboken and the Office of State Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro about this incident.
It is past time to address the issue of unqualified and/or incompetent and/or unethical and/or partisan poll workers.
Reform supporters- including voters and Challengers- have been dealing with passive-aggressive (or just aggressive) harassment at the polls for years.
Oh, and one more thing.
Below is a photo taken on November 4, 2014- Election day in Hoboken. You can see the "head of the polling station," a 2014 BoE candidate, clutching a handful of her campaign literature on the steps of the City Hall polling station. Yes, "the head of the polling station" was standing within 100 feet of a polling station with campaign literature, a violation of NJ election law called "electioneering."
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