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Former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant arraigned on charges related to voter harassment allegation

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Posted at 1:31 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 13:31:18-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant was arraigned on charges stemming from an incident she live streamed on her Facebook page during early voting in late October.

Grant. 73, is charged with one count of misdemeanor in relation to Elections under New York State Election Law and one count of second-degree harassment, a violation.

On October 23, Grant began a Facebook Live on her personal Facebook page from the Delevan Grider Community Center on East Delavan Avenue in Buffalo. During the 20-minute livestream, the district attorney's office says Grant knowingly entered a voting booth that was in use and watched an elderly woman fill out her ballot. Grant is accused of recording the woman as another woman helped her use a stamp to fill out the write-in candidate box.

Prosecutors accuse Grant of filming the woman with the intent to "alarm or seriously annoy" her, amounting to harassment. In the video, Grant can be heard shouting “that’s illegal.”

The day after the incident, the Erie County Board of Elections received a complaint about Grant's behavior. Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner sent a letter revoking her poll-watcher status and ordering her to stay 100 feet away from polling locations.

Grant was released following arraignment. She is due back in court on January 4. If convicted of all charges, the maximum sentence Grant could face is one year in jail.