A woman alleges she was intimated by a Donald Trump supporter who stood outside a voting booth in Loudoun County, Virginia, wielding a gun.
Erika Cotti came across the man when she was on her way to cast her vote, according to the Huffington Post.
The man offered her a Republican sample ballot, which she refused.
“He’s like, ‘Who are you going to vote for, crooked Hillary?’ And I was like, that’s really none of your business,” Cotti recalled.
The woman, who was accompanied by her 9-year-old son, says she felt intimidated, and had to explain to her son why there was a man with a .357 Magnum standing outside the booth.
When Cotti left, the man was reportedly standing on the sidewalk, blocking her path.
Virginia does not have early voting options. However, people can cast in-person absentee ballots if they expect to be away from the county or the city on Election Day.
Even more shocking than the incident outside the booth is the fact that the authorities are absolutely fine with the armed man who allegedly intimidated voters.
Loudoun County Registrar Judy Brown confirmed that a man in a Donald Trump shirt was handing out GOP promotional literature outside her office.
“There is a gentleman standing outside the office with a holstered gun,” Brown told HuffPost. “According to law enforcement, because Virginia is open carry, he’s allowed to have it.”
The man, Brown assured media, was being "nice to people," like trying to sway their vote with a gun in his hand. As he was observing the 40-foot no-canvassing zone outside the office, she noted, he was well within his rights to loiter.
Loudoun County Republican Committee Chairman Will Estrada clarified that the man was a former law enforcement official and veteran with a concealed carry permit. The man, according to Estrada, felt bad and pulled his shirt over the gun.
Although Estrada said he advised volunteers to not let themselves become the story when they ventured out to support their candidate, he was adamant that he will never stop a volunteer from carrying a gun.
This incident evoked memories of the 2008 elections when King Samir Shabazz, a member of the Black Panther Party, stood outside an election booth holding a nightstick in north Philadelphia. The population of north Philly is overwhelming black, and nobody felt that Shabazz was trying to cajole them into voting for a certain candidate.
Shabazz later said he was there to "protect his people." His video was picked up by conservative media.
Shabazz became a symbol of election misconduct, but it's odd to see how the armed man’s case in Virginia is being brushed aside by both the authorities and the GOP.