Woman says she felt pressured at Port Neches voting location
Election Day is Tuesday for both the Republican and Democratic party primaries. But at least one voter is concerned about what she says happened to her and others when they cast their ballots Friday, the last day of early voting.
Jodi Simon says the women working inside the voting site at the Hebert library in Port Neches told her whatever primary she chose to vote in, she would locked into that political party for two years. It's a claim we first reported on last month, when the Jefferson County Republican Party circulated a Facebook post that appeared to be a tactic to discourage people from cross-party voting.
Simon says she's second-guessing the integrity of the process. She says she felt pressured when she voted.
"We want fair judicial elections in Southeast Texas and this is not happening," she says.
"I just feel that there was a lot of advice given. When I went to vote I was shaking, so confused I knew that rules were being violated and it's just not right. It's hard enough to get people to get out to vote much less to have confusing, misleading information given."
Simon claims the election workers advised her and others against crossover voting. She voted, but was so concerned she returned and recorded what she says is a conversation with the poll worker in charge.
Jefferson County Clerk Carolyn Guidry says she finds no fault in the election worker's actions, or what she's heard from the audio.
Guidry, a Democrat, blames what she describes as a misleading flier circulated by the Jefferson County Republicans.
"Had not that been on Facebook, I don't even think people would be questioning what's going on because they've been cross-voting for years," she says.
Jefferson County Republican Party Vice Chair Judy Nichols claims she doesn't know where the posting originated, but stands by it.
Early voting indicates many traditional Republicans living in mid-Jefferson County are voting Democrat. Political experts believe that's because attorney Tina Bradley is on the Democrat ballot for Jefferson County's 172nd District Court judge.
Bradley lives in Port Neches and is well-known in mid- and south-County.
A complaint was filed with the Port Neches Police Department about the incident Friday. But Chief Paul Lemoine says based on the information his officer has gathered, it's not a criminal matter but a situation under the authority of the county clerk.
The clerk says she's telling her election workers to focus only on making sure the equipment is working and making sure voters understand how to use it.