Texas election official resigns after screaming at a confused black voter
No one ever said working in the public sector was easy. You would be providing an important service for the general public, and that's a lot of pressure considering it is funded by us, the taxpayer. And in the last couple of months, what public services have been discussed more than those surrounding the midterm elections?
As we all know, US citizens were heavily encouraged to exercise their right to vote in the weeks leading up to election day. And as a result, there was a huge turnout. It is believed that 113 million voted, compared to just 83.3 million who went to the polls in 2014.
In light of this, there has been plenty of pressure on poll workers, who play an essential role in the election process. Not only do they have to be attentive to the needs of the voting public but they are also trained to be able to maintain control of certain tricky situations, should they get out of hand. And with a turnout as sizable as this year's, their job can get quite stressful.
But even so, you are expected to maintain a certain level of professionalism, a level that one particular election supervisor and judge in Williamson County, Texas, was seemingly not able to adhere to.
Her name is Lila Guzman and she has stepped down after being caught on camera screaming at a black voter who was unsure about where to vote:
The footage was captured by a third party of the confrontation on Friday afternoon. It shows Lila Guzman repeatedly telling the voter to leave, saying: "Get out. Get out. Get out. You are rude. You are not following the law. Go. Go."
The voter who recorded the video explained to a local ABC station that she started filming the incident when Guzman got consistently louder and more aggressive.
"I was like, 'This is getting out of hand.' So I began to record," the voter who captured the video told the news station. "She did tell her she couldn't vote there, but she didn't say where in Travis. The lady did have an accent. She could've been new to the country. I don't know, but she needed some help."
Guzman is then heard threatening to call the police on the voter, whose identity has yet to be revealed. She informs the voter she will have the police escort her from the building. According to some reports, the woman who Guzman was yelling at left the building before law enforcement arrived at the scene.
Williamson County Elections Administrator, Chris Davis, told the news station that Guzman lost "her composure in the middle of this, and that's not something that we ever train our poll workers, supervisors, election judges and clerks to do."
"We always train them and advise them to maintain control of the situation politely and answer voters' questions and give voters options so situations like these don't escalate," he continued.
Davis also informed the news station he believes the voter arrived at the polling site after she was turned away from a different one.
"I regret that that incident happened with that poll worker because that voter was just trying to get answers that weren't being provided to her in a way that we train our poll workers to give," Davis said.
"It was the end of the day, and we were seeing steady turnout across all sites, but again, no excuse. It's our job to get voters answers and help them vote, either at our site or the site where they need to vote," Davis said.
In spite of the fierce backlash to the video, Guzman explained to the publication that she did not resign as a result of the incident but because she felt Davis' office had failed to provide any support when she contacted the authorities.
She also clarified that she was very tired, which was partly why she didn't handle the situation in the best way. Hopefully, in future, there will more of an emphasis on treating all members of the voting public with the respect they deserve.