PA voter claims poll worker swayed another voter

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Gloria Sanchez, a Port Arthur resident, claims a Jefferson County poll worker told a voter how to vote on the first day of early voting at the Port Arthur Public Library.

“On Monday, I was voting. A lady next to me was voting too. She had a question about a proposal (to change the city charter to eliminate Districts 5 and 6 from the Port Arthur City Council). She asked the worker about more information on the proposal. The lady (poll worker) said the proposal will save the city money by getting rid of the two seats and to vote yes.”

“I turned around and told her (the poll worker) she didn’t answer the lady’s question who was voting. You can’t tell her it’s not okay to vote yes. It’s not right.”

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Sanchez said she later called Carolyn Guidry, county clerk, about the incident. Sanchez didn’t get the poll worker’s name.

“You can’t tell anyone to vote yes or no,” Sanchez said. “She shouldn’t give information out like that. I don’t know if she told anyone else the same thing over and over.”

Guidry confirmed a complaint was filed and her office was investigating the matter.

“I can’t validate (if the poll worker told a voter how to vote). Poll workers receive instructions not to explain the ballot at all.”

“If the voter has questions, we can offer to cancel the ballot for the voter (if they don’t like the way they voted). They can contact their city councilman or the city for an informed opinion. I’ve told all of the poll workers this,” Guidry said.

In fact, she spoke with the poll workers at the PAPL on Tuesday morning and told them not to influence voters.

“I apologize if this did happen and I hope this does not occur again,” she said.

Poll workers’ only recourse when asked a question by a voter about the ballot is to read the ballot in its entirety. They cannot offer their opinion or a synopsis.

“Hopefully this will settle it,” she said. “This was only a single incident if that’s what occurred.”

“We don’t have cameras in polling places. We keep a report though.”

Guidry said if she has the same incident with the same poll worker, she will pull her from the polling place.

“We’ve never had a problem with her,” she said. “Poll workers are to be non-partisan. We hold classes on this. However, voters should be informed on the issues they are voting on.”

David Ball: 409-721-2427