As Virginia entered its first weekend of early voting, a group of Trump supporters at a polling location in northern Virginia chanted “four more years” and forced county election officials to provide “escorts” to get some voters past the group.
The incident, which happened at the county board of elections in the D.C. suburb of Fairfax, followed a rally nearby featuring Republican National Committee co-chair Tommy Hicks, the New York Times reported. Afterward, the group reportedly migrated over to the voting site.
Video captured by Maryland photographer Anthony Tilghman shows the crowd carrying Trump signs and flags and chanting, “Four more years!” right outside the building.
One county official said the group intimidated voters who were waiting to vote, and another part of the government building had to be opened up to voters who were moved inside.
“Citizens coming into and leaving the building did have to go by them,” Fairfax County general registrar Gary Scott said in a statement to the New York Times. “Those voters who were in line outside the building were moved inside and we continued operations. Some voters, and elections staff, did feel intimidated by the crowd and we did provide escorts past the group. One of the escorts was the county executive.”
Fairfax County is one of the most Democratic in the state. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the county with two-thirds of the vote.
The group eventually dissipated by 1 p.m. ET, local Democratic Party chair Bryan Graham said in a tweet. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, the top prosecutor in the county, said in a Facebook post that his office will “pursue cases of voter intimidation that may occur.”
The Virginia GOP openly mocked the Times story and voters who felt intimidated in a Saturday tweet, and pointed out in another that county election officials didn’t accuse them of blocking access to the building, just intimidating voters.
“I don’t think there was any way to need or feel intimidated in any form,” Fairfax County GOP vice chair Sean Rastatter told the New York Times.
The incident was a blip during a weekend in which voters came out in droves for the first chance to cast their ballot. The lines to vote in Fairfax stretched to as long as four hours, according to local reports.
Trump himself said last month that he wants to send law enforcement to polling places to make sure people aren’t committing voter fraud, though he has no power to actually do that.
“We’re going to have everything,” Trump said. “We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to hopefully have U.S. attorneys and everybody — attorney generals. But it’s very hard.”
Cover: Twitter/Anthony Tilghman