Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Texas election supervisor steps down after viral video shows her berating black voter

An election official in Texas has stepped down after a viral video showed her screaming at a black voter and telling her to leave the polls.

Election supervisor and judge Lila Guzman told the unidentified voter, who was apparently confused about where to vote, to exit the polling place and even threatened to call the cops.

“Get out. Get out. Get out. You are rude. You are not following the law. Go. Go,” Guzman yelled.

Election official harasses black voter, resigns

Local station KVUE first reported the encounter, which was filmed by another black woman and took place at the Williamson County Annex in Round Rock on Friday afternoon. The bystander said the confused voter had an accent and needed help — but Guzman was anything but helpful, she said.

“I was like, ‘This is getting out of hand.’ So I began to record,” the woman who filmed the encounter told KVUE. “The lady did have an accent. She could’ve been new to the country. I don’t know, but she needed some help.”

Guzman reportedly lost her cool after the voter had a difficult time finding the correct place to vote. At one point, Guzman warned the woman that she would call the cops, but the voter reportedly left before the cops came.

Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis said that the voter, who was registered to vote in Williamson County, had already been turned away from poll workers in Travis County, where she lived.

Davis said the voter should have been directed to the Travis County Elections Division to vote on a limited ballot, but she tried to vote at the Williamson County Annex instead — only to be verbally berated by Guzman, who resigned ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Official admits inappropriate response

Guzman said that she did not feel pressured to step down because of the video, but that she resigned because Davis’ office didn’t back her up when she called the police. Davis said that Guzman “lost her composure” and that her conduct did not reflect how polling workers are expected to interact with voters.

“We always train them and advise them to maintain control of the situation politely and answer voters’ questions and give voters options so situations like these don’t escalate,” he said. “It was the end of the day, and we were seeing steady turnout across all sites, but again, no excuse. It’s our job to get voters answers and help them vote, either at our site or the site where they need to vote.”

Guzman said that she was tired after two long work weeks and admitted that she did not respond appropriately, but did not apologize.

Davis said that Guzman, who worked several elections, was “a very experienced supervisor and judge.”

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