“I have never seen the county so racially charged:” Columbus County NAACP chapter concerned about voter intimidation

COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Three weeks away from election day, leaders with the North Carolina NAACP are concerned about voter intimidation at the polls in Columbus County, where suspended Sheriff Jody Greene has made racist comments about his black employees.

The North Carolina NAACP sent a letter to the United States Department of Justice asking for help in sending election monitors to Columbus County.

NC NAACP formally requests federal government action on comments made by the sheriff of Columbus County

Curtis Hill, President of the Columbus County NAACP, says several voters are concerned for their safety.

“You have people that are living in fear, and they have lived in fear for four years, right? And people have been harassed and that kind of thing. So, we want to make sure that people are able to feel safe as they’re coming through Columbus County,” Hill said.

Hill, along with several North Carolina NAACP leaders, sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for election monitors, a community meeting, and a federal investigation into Greene’s comments.

“Help to ensure the integrity of the election, but also to reassure African American voters that they can go to the polls and cast their vote without any fear of repercussions from law enforcement or others within the Columbus County community,” said North Carolina NAACP Legal Redress Chair Irv Joyner.

Hill says he has never seen tensions run so high during a county election season.

“I have never seen the county so racially charged,” said Hill. “It’s pretty evident of what’s going on. So, we’re just trying to really do things to really make sure people feel comfortable voting. It’s not just African Americans that are scared to vote. It is other white folks that have called us and told us that they’re scared to vote.”

Greene is currently suspended from office pending a hearing on a petition to remove him from the role of Sheriff. That hearing is scheduled for next Monday morning at the Columbus County courthouse.