Port Arthur poll worker fired, accused of influencing votes - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Port Arthur poll worker fired, accused of influencing votes

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PORT ARTHUR - A former Port Arthur poll worker is facing possible criminal charges after being accused of illegally influencing a voter at the City Hall early voting location.

Mary Williams said she had just finished voting for the upcoming May elections Monday when she asked a poll worker for a sample ballot to take home, and got a surprise.
"The lady gave me a sample ballot that was actually completely filled out," Williams told 12News Tuesday.

Williams showed us the ballot she said she was given. You can see boxes for certain candidates running for city council and school board positions have been checked.

"None of these people on here would be a person I would select as a candidate...it's corruption," said Williams.

Upset and concerned, Williams reported the incident to city secretary Sherri Bellard Tuesday morning.  Bellard promptly removed the poll worker from her duties and turned the case over to police to be investigated further.

"We take this very seriously. If the integrity of an election is ever in doubt, we will act immediately," said Bellard.

Williams says the poll worker told her it was an accident, but Williams isn't buying it, believing the poll worker was trying to influence votes.

"Wow many other people did they give this ballot to yesterday? I don't think it's fair to mislead our citizens," said Williams.

Bellard says she has received no other complaints or reports and believes this to be an isolated incident.

Port Arthur Police Chief Marc Blanton says they will investigate the situation and turn it over to the district attorney if necessary. Blanton says the poll worker, who has not been named, faces a possible misdemeanor charge of unlawfully influencing a voter, which could land her in jail for up to 6 months.

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