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16 incidents of suspected voter intimidation reported in NC ahead of Election Day

Philippe Gerber/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Sixteen incidents of suspected voter intimidation have been reported to North Carolina elections officials since the start of early in-person voting, the State Board of Election (NCSBE) confirmed to ABC News on Monday.

These reports are under review by the board’s investigative unit, which will then determine whether they need to be elevated. Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the NCSBE, who discussed the alleged incidents during a Monday news conference, said several actions could follow.

“There could be situations where depending on the circumstance, it could be a voter intimidation or something that interferes with the voter’s ability to cast their ballot; those could be raised to [the Department of Justice] and civil rights violations,” Brinson Bell said. “But we are not the prosecutors. We will turn that over to DOJ or potentially it could be a situation that would be turned over to a district attorney.”

The reported incidents have occurred in multiple counties, including Wake, Mecklenburg, Columbus and Wayne, according to the board.

Some incidents included individuals photographing or recording one-stop workers in their vehicles and poll observers getting too close to voters.

During the news conference, Bell pleaded for civility heading into Election Day.

“We want people to be able to cast their ballot without fear of intimidation or interference,” Brinson Bell said. “We ask that people recognize that these are bipartisan officials who have been trained to do the job of a precinct official, and they are going to ensure that the voters are able to cast their ballots.”

There have been similar reports of possible voter intimidation elsewhere this cycle. In Arizona, 18 complaints of harassment and intimidation have been recorded by the state’s secretary of state’s website.

“Voters should be able to cast their ballot without fear of intimidation,” Arizona secretary of state spokesperson Sophia Solis said in a statement to ABC News. “We encourage anyone who experiences intimidation at a voting location to contact their county recorder, Secretary of State’s Office, or law enforcement.”

ABC News’ Ali Dukakis contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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