Voting article prompts polling questions

Assistant County Attorney responds to questions

Author: Irika Sargent, Anchor/Reporter, isargent@kprc.com
Published On: Nov 05 2012 01:31:15 AM CST   Updated On: Nov 05 2012 12:15:22 PM CST
HOUSTON -

Voters packed Houston area polling locations Friday for their last chance at early voting as election day draws near.  With long lines and some tempers flaring, the final hours were filled with controversy in Northeast Harris County. 

A recent article on the website townhall.com has gone viral, claiming inappropriate election activity at the Acres Homes polling place.

In the article, a person claiming to be a poll watcher accused the NAACP members of advocating for President Barack Obama inside the polling location and picking people to move to the front of the line.  The article said election officials ignored the problem.

Assistant County Attorney Douglas Ray said much of the story is untrue.  "That's not the complete story," Ray said. 

He said the real fight at Acres Homes came when NAACP members started demanding that disabled residents be allowed to vote faster.

"They were taking people out of the line that they were identifying and were taking them to the front of the line in order to get them special assistance," Ray said.

Ray said his office sent investigators in, who told NAACP members that disabled voters could not skip the line.  However, Ray said they did let NAACP stand in line for the disabled voter, acting as a surrogate, until the voter's name was called.

Ray said his team never saw NAACP members advocating for a candidate.  He said NAACP members did get confrontational before they agreed to the election rules.

"Some voices might have been raised," Ray said.  "But I think we were able to reach a mutual compromise by the end."

Local 2 contacted True the Vote, which is the organization the article says trained the poll watcher who allegedly complained about the NAACP.  Local 2 also contacted the NAACP but did not receive a response from either organization.