Election officials reported five incidents of potential intimidation or interference on Election Day in North Carolina, and another 16 over the state’s early voting period.

After the 2020 election, county and state elections officials were worried about what could happen at the polls. Conspiracy theories and false claims of voter fraud have been circulating nationally and in North Carolina, sparking concerns for front-line election workers.

What You Need To Know

  • The North Carolina State Board of Elections reported 21 incidents of possible intimidation or interference of voters and election workers

  • The board reported five on Election Day and 16 during early in-person voting

  • The incidents were reported in counties around North Carolina

  • State elections officials said they take the reports seriously and will report criminal activity to law enforcement for possible prosecution

“One incident of voter or election official intimidation is too many, and we will continue to do everything we can to protect voters and election officials,” said Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

“We take these allegations very seriously. Substantiated incidents will be investigated and referred to prosecutors, if warranted by evidence. In some cases, law enforcement is involved,” he said in an email.

Of the five incidents reported on Election Day, the state said two were “potential election worker intimidation” in Wake and Rowan counties. The board reported “potential voter intimidation” in Rutherford, Granville and Halifax counties.

These include an election worker being followed by a car in Wake County, a voter being told by a campaigner in Rutherford County that they could not go in the polling site without ID and an election observer photographing curbside voters.

During early voting, which ran from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5, state officials reported 16 incidents in 10 counties around the state. Many of the potential cases of intimidation involved election observers or people campaigning for candidates photographing voters or poll workers.

“We need to keep these numbers in perspective. More than 3.75 million voters cast ballots in the general election at more than 2,650 Election Day polling places and 359 early voting sites,” Gannon said.

“Most voters cast their ballot successfully at an orderly polling place, with no issues. We thank election officials, poll workers, and voters for participating in a successful election, largely free of major issues,” he said.

The Justice Department sent federal poll monitors to five counties in North Carolina for Election Day. The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division sent monitors to Alamance, Columbus, Harnett, Mecklenburg and Wayne counties, the department said.

Here are the incidents reported by the State Board of Elections:

Election Day incidents

Rowan County

Potential election worker intimidation: “Campaigner refused to keep proper distance from curbside voters, called chief judge a derogatory term, and grabbed and threw her cell phone. Same individual then approached and took photos of another election official’s car, then taunted and threatened her.”

Rutherford County

Potential voter intimidation: “Voter told by campaigner to not enter polling place without ID and that law enforcement was arresting people on site who had active warrants.”

Wake County

Potential election worker intimidation: “Election worker followed in car from voting site.”

Granville County

Potential voter intimidation: “Campaigner aggressively pushing candidates to curbside voters, leaning into their cars, ignoring voter requests to be left alone.”

Halifax County

Potential voter intimidation: “Observer photographing curbside voters.”

Early voting incidents

Columbus County

Potential election worker intimidation: “Observer following one-stop workers in their car.”

Potential election worker intimidation: “Photographing or filming workers.”

Mecklenburg County

Potential election worker intimidation: “Monitors at county board office approaching one-stop workers returning supplies to county office and photographing license plates.”

New Hanover County

Potential voter intimidation: “Electioneer ‘harassing’ students walking to class at a one-stop site.”

Potential voter intimidation: “Electioneers getting into heated shouting match potentially intimidating voters.”

Potential election worker intimidation: “Observer angrily confronting election official.”

Wake County

Potential voter intimidation: “Electioneer in buffer zone aggressively pushing materials on voters entering the site making them feel very uncomfortable.”

Potential voter intimidation: “Observer photographing curbside voters.”

Pitt County

Potential voter intimidation: “Voter was photographed by electioneer while approaching the voting site.”

Potential election worker intimidation: “Individual at an early voting site (unrelated to voting) harassed election worker claiming it was illegal to conduct early voting.”

Harnett County

Potential voter intimidation: “Observer getting too close to voters in the voting enclosure and making curbside voters feel intimidated.”

Potential voter intimidation: “Electioneers videotaping voters coming and going and informing the voters they were being recorded.”

McDowell County

Potential election worker intimidation: “Observer refused instruction of election official to move outside the buffer zone while talking on the phone and grabbed her arm momentarily.”

Wayne County

Potential voter intimidation: “Observer yelling at voter when using phone magnifier.”

Guilford County

Potential voter intimidation: “Electioneer photographing voters.”

Cabarrus County

Potential voter intimidation: “Monitor photographing curbside voters.”