The race for the Virginia House of Delegates seat in the 87th District just got a bit more contentious.
Incumbent Delegate John Bell's campaign team has accused Indian American challenger Subba Kolla of election law violations.
The announcement of the claims, stemming from a recent absentee voting event, comes just days prior to the Nov. 7 general election.
Volunteers for Bell’s campaign claim they saw Kolla campaign staff members leading people by the arm into the Dulles South Multipurpose Center Oct. 28 in contravention of election law that requires campaign staff members to stay at least 40 feet away from the entrance of any polling place, according to a Loudon Now report.
Loudoun County Democratic Committee Dulles District Chairwoman Liz Carter said she also saw Kolla campaign representatives instructing voters what to tell election officials when requesting an absentee ballot—to say they were going to be out of the country, it added.
Kolla in a statement said that the tactics by Bell’s campaign team are a form of intimidation.
“My campaign is the first for an Indian American in Virginia and while I knew it would be difficult and groundbreaking, I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this,” he said. “It is sad, disappointing and unacceptable that the Bell campaign and the Loudoun County Democrats are trying so hard to disparage and suppress the Indian American community from voting. This is simple voter intimidation of the Indian American community.”
Kolla further pointed out that one of his volunteers signed a sworn affidavit that Bell’s campaign volunteer approached his vehicle and took down his license plate.
“When asked why, the Bell volunteer refused to provide an answer and walked away with the license plate information. This is aggressive and intimidating behavior,” he said.
Virginia allows in-person absentee voting in advance of Election Day if a voter will be unable to reach the polls on Election Day.
“We will persevere through this intimidation and spurious efforts by the Bell campaign,” Kolla added in a statement.