Election2020: Claim of Intimidation over noose at Missouri voter booth
A replica watches noose on display near voting booths at a Missouri courthouse has been covered up after Democrats claimed it was intimidating to black people.
A picture of the noose behind booths at Stone County Courthouse in Galena, 30 miles south of Springfield, was snapped by a voter who cast her ballot last week.
As the image circulated on social media, Democrats branded it ‘outrageous’, a ‘brazen act of voter intimidation’, and demanded that it be taken down ‘immediately’.
An historical display behind voting booths at a Missouri courthouse that features a replica noose has been covered over after complaints of voter intimidation
Yinka Faleti, a Democrat running for Missouri Secretary of State, branded the noose ‘a brazen attempt at voter intimidation’
Stone County Clerk Cindy Elmore said the display was put up several years ago and ‘has nothing to do with the election office.’
She said the noose is part of an historical exhibition about the hanging of white man Rosco Jackson, who was put to death in 1937 for murder.
Jackson was one of the last people to be publicly hanged in Missouri.
Megan Wilson, who snapped the picture and has lived in the county since 2017, said she was worried about the effect it could have on other voters.
‘I was just shocked, horrified, and could not believe that nobody was saying anything. No one found it to be a problem,’ she told the .
Yinka Faleti, Democratic nominee for Missouri Secretary of State, was among those who hit out over the issue.
‘This goes beyond a gross an appalling lack of judgement by the relevant parties,’ he said. ‘This is a brazen attempt at voter intimidation, plain and simple.’
‘The noose is a historic symbol of racially-motivated and state-sanctioned murders of African Americans.
‘This is yet another painful reminder that in 2020, we still have not come far enough and we have many more miles to go. The display ought to be removed immediately.’
Clem Smith, the chair of the Missouri Democratic Party, added: ‘For a noose to be displayed next to voting booths is clear intimidation targeting Black voters.
‘This symbol’s purpose is to stoke the fires of racial prejudice and strike fear in the hearts of people of color.
It is a painful reminder of the murders and lynchings of Black Americans. To see one next to a voting booth is offensive, inappropriate, and outrageous.
‘It should be obvious to anybody that a noose does not belong at anybody’s election booth. It must be taken down immediately.’
Mark Maples, presiding officer for the courthouse, said: ‘It never once entered our minds as an intimidation issue. We just don’t think that way.’
With just one day left until voting ends, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump are campaigning hard to secure votes that will be vital to victory.
While Biden leads Trump nationally, the Republican is gaining ground in swing states that will determine who the winner is.
Missouri is considered a safe Republican state, which Trump won easily in 2016 with 58 per cent of the vote compared to Hillary Clinton’s 40 per cent.
Trump is expected to easily carry the state again this time around, which will give him six of the 270 electoral college votes he needs to take a second term.
Stone County is majority white, with 96 per cent of the population identifying as that race, with just 4 per cent identifying as black.