Nov 4, 2014

Richmond police are warning political campaigners to stay 100 feet from polling sites or risk arrest following widespread complaints of voter intimidation in the city.

Police have responded to reports of residents being intimated into voting a particular way at polling sites at Veteran’s Memorial Hall and Easter Hill United Methodist Church, Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

California election code section 18541 bars electioneering, including attempting to dissuade someone from voting in a certain fashion, within 100 feet of a polling site, Abektov said. It is a misdemeanor offense.

Officials at the Richmond City Council Chambers and City Clerk’s Office reported receiving numerous complaints that supporters of Team Richmond, candidates supported by the Richmond Progressive Alliance, have been harassing voters.

One voter told the Richmond Standard she was intimidated by “Green Party representatives” at a Marina Bay polling site.

They “harassed me to and from my car” and “told me I was stupid and uninformed,” said Kimberly, who didn’t want her last name used for this report for fear of further intimidation.

Abetkov said police have been dealing with it all day.

“We’ve gone out there, at two locations, and have actually taken a tape measure and measured 100 feet from the polling room,” Abetkov said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re having to go out there and take tape measurement out and measure it. People should not feel that they are being threatened, harassed or dissuaded.”


  1. Mike. Sounds a bit slanted. Also sounds like RPA is winning.

    martyn Collins | Nov 4th, 2014
  2. slanted – I don’t think so – the people operating my voting site were more concerned about socializing than RPA accosting people from their cars to the booth. RPA people can’t be too bright if they can’t count off 100ft visually. They should have been arrested – they are all into people’s rights but violated voters of richmond civil rights all day long. They should be ashamed of themselves – I was going to vote for one of them but after the aggressive tactics I switched my vote.

    save_me_sanfrancisco | Nov 4th, 2014
  3. We didn’t need your vote-THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED. The People won this one!

    MIKE | Nov 5th, 2014
  4. How does asking for someone’s vote violate their civil rights? Truth is that very few people can make good judgment for what 100 ft. is– and while it may sound petty, in many polling locations 10-15 ft can make all the difference between being present for voters walking in and being stuck across the street. As you can see in the elections results, its on Election Day that grassroots candidates can cut through the noise of expensive mailers and billboards– frankly, its a blessing, because its the last theatre of democracy that can’t really be bought.

    There is almost always a fight between poll workers and campaigners on Election Day– there is nothing unusual about it and the police calls they make. Many poll workers are experienced at what they do and are great at doing it, others its their first time and they’re really doing it for a paycheck. If I counted off 35 paces from the voting room and the poll worker isn’t satisfied, or wants to push me over 150 ft. away, I absolutely encourage them to call the cops so we can get a final decision. That’s what I did in 2012 when a poll worker (who was clearly not a supporter of my cause) tried to kick me off the property completely. I encouraged her to call the police, they came, eyeballed that I was fine where I was, and we proceeded to have an easy day. Again, emotions run high every year, and it defines the frame of attitude towards what others are doing.

    Last thing, just to demonstrate how we really need to spread understanding of the law: A pastor at a church-based poll (which I won’t name) yesterday allegedly told volunteers that they were on private property and must leave, despite being well out of the 100 ft. range of the voting room. Sorry, when you sign up your building as a poll on Election Day, you can’t pick and choose who’s allowed in and who’s not– it becomes public property.

    Zak Wear | Nov 5th, 2014
  5. Please don’t be another biased prick, last thing Richmond needs is bad publicity coming from people that aren’t even from here in the first place, so please do so by complaining at a more Gentrified location where people actually listen to your pitiful whims.

    Alfonso | Nov 4th, 2014

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.