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Former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant charged with harassing voter

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Posted at 9:30 AM, Nov 23, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Former Erie County Legislator and Board of Elections worker Betty Jean Grant has been charged with harassing a voter inside a Buffalo polling site.

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

According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, Grant entered an occupied voting booth at the Delavan Grider Community Center last month and watched as an elderly woman filled out her ballot. According to prosecutors, Grant used her cell phone to record the woman, who was being assisted by another woman in using the write-in Byron Brown stamp. The incident was streamed on Facebook live and later posted to Grant's personal Facebook page.

In the video, Grant can be heard shouting “that’s illegal.”

"It is further alleged that the defendant engaged in a course of conduct, with the intent to alarm or seriously annoy another person, by filming the individual who was submitting their ballot," the D.A.'s office stated.

“You come here and you take an 80-plus year-old woman, and you make her feel like what she’s doing is against the law,” said Carolette Meadows, who was assisting the elderly voter. “You intimidate and bully the community that if they want to support Byron Brown, they’re doing something wrong.”

The Erie County Board of Elections said it received a complaint from the New York Attorney General’s Office the following day.

“We have sent a letter to Betty Jean Grant, asking her to stay away from the polling places by 100 feet,” said Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner.

The letter sent to Grant also says “You have interfered with the election.”

The Erie County Board of Elections revoked Grant's poll-watching certificate.

Grant has been issued an appearance ticket to face arraignment on December 6 in Buffalo City Court.