CARMEL, Ind. — A poll worker at an early voting site in Carmel, Indiana, was removed from their post on Thursday. County Republicans are alleging illegal activity and said the local sheriff has opened an investigation.
Republican Party allegations
The Hamilton County Republican Party released a statement on Sunday alleging that the poll worker, who has been asked not to come back to work, was a Democrat who attempted to pressure voters not to support a GOP-endorsed school board candidate.
“I have been in communication with local election officials to make sure poll workers are reminded that such activity, called electioneering, is illegal,” Hamilton Co. GOP Chairman Mario Massillamany said in a statement.
Massillamany confirmed to FOX59 that the sheriff’s office has opened an investigation into the situation.
In response to the county GOP’s claims, the Hamilton County Democratic Party released a statement Sunday denying allegations of illegal activity and offering the following explanation:
“It appears as though school board activists, supporting GOP-endorsed candidates, were too close to voting machines at a vote center in the county. After a poll worker brought it to the attention of election administrators, he was removed from working the site.”Hamilton County Democratic Party
The Democratic statement went on to accuse the Republican party of embellishing the situation to gain leverage in the upcoming election.
“The Hamilton County Republican Party is trying to sow last-minute doubt into the integrity of our elections,” a statement read. “We believe voters deserve honesty and the truth.”
The poll worker
In addition to a statement by the party itself, the Hamilton County Democratic Party identified the poll worker and provided a statement from him.
In an open letter to the county’s election board, James Zheng addressed his removal and explained his side of the story.
“I categorically deny these allegations and would point out that at no time during the early voting on the 3rd did the Inspector call me aside and confront me with these false allegations,” Zheng wrote. “I am willing to come forward and testify, under oath.”
You can read the full statement from Zheng below:
Anyone who sees questionable activity at voting sites is asked to contact a poll worker or election official. For guidance on acceptable poll site actions, call the Hamilton County Election Office at (317) 776-8476.
For basic information on voting and Election Day in Indiana, click here.