- A white poll worker was dismissed and charged with criminal assault on accusations that she hurled a racial remark and shoulder-bumped a black voter at a polling station in North Houston.
- Juanita Barnes, who is white, reportedly yelled at Rolanda Anthony, who is black, and pointed a finger at her face after an issue with the address on her voter registration.
- “Maybe if I’d worn my blackface makeup today you could comprehend what I’m saying to you,” Barnes reportedly said.
- Barnes continued to make racist comments after Anthony threatened to file a police report: “I’m white. Have you seen the news,” she reportedly said.
- “If you call the police, they’re going to take you to jail and do something to you, because I’m white,” Barnes added.
- Barnes was escorted out of the building and the county attorney’s office launched an investigation.
A white poll worker was dismissed and charged with criminal assault on accusations that she hurled a racial remark at a black voter at a polling station in North Houston on Tuesday, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Rolanda Anthony, a graduate-school student who reportedly works as a case manager for families in need, attempted to vote at the polling station at 8 a.m. when she was notified there was a discrepancy regarding her address.
A poll worker informed Anthony she needed to fill out a residency verification form, The Chronicle reported. Anthony, who claimed the address in the database and her identification were identical, asked the poll worker why she needed to fill out the form.
But before the poll worker was able to answer, Juanita Barnes, an alternate election judge, reportedly interjected by coming in close distance to Anthony, The Chronicle said.
Barnes, who is white, reportedly yelled at Anthony and pointed a finger at her face as onlookers watched. Barnes’ coworkers alleged she had a history of making racist comments and tried to prevent her from working at their location.
“It’s illegal for you not to change your address on your driver’s licence if you move,” Barnes said, according to Anthony.
Anthony claimed she was “living here for years” and that her address was “correct,” The Chronicle said.
Barnes responded by making a racially-charged remark that was corroborated by witnesses: “Maybe if I’d worn my blackface makeup today you could comprehend what I’m saying to you,” she allegedly said.
“I stepped back, all the way against the wall,” Anthony said to The Chronicle. “[Barnes] comes all the way over there, putting her hands in my face, yelling and screaming at me, telling me she’s the [alternate] election judge and I’m going to do what she says.”
A presiding election judge reportedly told Barnes she “can’t say that,” and told her to back off of Anthony. As Anthony filled out the verification form, Barnes allegedly continued harassing her, according to The Chronicle. The judge eventually dismissed Barnes, and Anthony told said she was going to file a police report.
Barnes reportedly bumped her shoulder into Anthony and continued to make racially-charged comments: “I’m white. Have you seen the news?”
“If you call the police, they’re going to take you to jail and do something to you, because I’m white,” Barnes allegedly said.
Barnes was escorted out of the building and the county attorney’s office launched an investigation. A presiding election judge said the confusion over the address may have been attributed to a computer glitch.
Despite the scene at the polling station, Anthony cast her ballot, The Chronicle reported.
“I don’t care who you vote for,” Anthony said. “Don’t let anything stop you from voting. Your vote matters. It’s your right so use it.”
Most polls in Texas close at 8:00 p.m. EST. The polling site was located in the 18th Congressional District, where Democratic incumbent Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has a high likelihood of becoming reelected, according to a FiveThirtyEight poll.
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