ELMONT, Long Island (PIX11) – 84-year-old Anne Marie Clermont is a U.S. citizen. She immigrated from Haiti more than 10 years ago and every year since she has been able, she said, she has voted on Election Day.
This November 4th 2013, however, became a challenge.
“He told me ‘you’re not going to vote not going to vote anymore,'” explained Clermont.
Clermont and her daughter Elsy Mecklembourg said thugs, who identified themselves as poll watchers at Dutch Broadway Elementary School in Elmont, tried to prevent them for casting their vote.
Clermont claimed she was simply trying to ask her daughter how to fill out her ballot properly when two men pacing behind the women suddenly unleashed on them.
“Is it a way to discourage people? Is it a way to turn people away? I think it is,” said Mecklembourg.
Frustrated and upset Clermont says she almost left without voting and it turns out others may have also had similar experiences. The Nassau County Democratic Committee and the Board of Elections said poll watchers were volunteers from the Nassau County Republican Committee and often represented various campaigns and target minority communities.
Jay Jacobs, Chairman of the Democratic Committee, says complaints flooded in on Tuesday from five different polling locations, two in Valley Stream and three in Elmont.
What is perhaps most disturbing is officials here say this is not a new problem in Nassau County.
Local legislator, Carrie Solage, experienced tactics used by his opponent in 2011 when a worker with that campaign used racial slurs against Solage’s sister outside of his own headquarters.
Solage also said he saw intimidation in the polls then and he saw it first hand Tuesday.
“We have to work together republicans and democrats but at the same time we have to stop this occurrence. This is an ugly image for us to have in 2013. We must bring this to the public light,” said Solage.