Woman who felt she was intimidated at polls in Collier County speaks to WINK News

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

Ellen Hemrick says she’s been voting for decades and has never had anything happen like the events that occurred on Friday, August 14.

“I try to vote in every election that I’m able to. Every little local race, every referendum,” Hemrick said.

So last week, when she went to North Collier Regional Park to vote like she had done a million times before, she was not prepared for what happened.

Hemrick says she “really felt intimidated.”

She said a poll worker told her she couldn’t vote because she was a registered democrat.

And she was very insistent that this was for Republicans…and I’m like ‘no like this is a local race and you know I’m in district 19 and I wanted to cast my vote for David Holden. And I had that right,” Hemrick said. 

After some pushback, she did finally get to vote. But she was still upset about what happened.

“I was very angry and I couldn’t even think straight,” said Hemrick.

So she filed a complaint with Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office. A few days later, they fired that poll worker.

Trish Robertson, with the Collier County Supervisor’s office, said, “We are going to continue to train our election workers. We feel very confident in our workers. This was an isolated incident.”

Robertson also said poll workers’ training covers intimidation and voter suppression.

Each election worker knows the process…there is never a reason for us to turn a voter away and tell them they cannot vote,” Robertson added.

But Hemrick says she’s living proof that it can happen to anyone. “If it could happen to me it could happen to anybody.”

The polls open at 7 a.m. tomorrow and officials do not predict there will be any more issues like this one. If you come across any, you can alert us through the WINK News app.

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