Bill Madden, a candidate for the Wake County Register of Deeds, cursed out a poll worker at a Cary early voting site, causing such a ruckus that the police were called.
No charges were filed against Madden at the request of Wake County Board of Elections director Gary Sims, who confirmed the incident to the INDY on Monday.
“Bottomline, when their behavior impacts our officials just trying to do their jobs, I have to step in,” Sims says.
On February 16, Madden was campaigning inside Cary’s Herb C. Young Community Center when a poll worker informed him he was not permitted to campaign within the voting area, according to an email sent by Sims. Madden was “aggressively confrontational” with the employee, whom Sims described as “one of the sweetest little ladies you’ll ever meet.”
He deployed “the F word,” called other officials names, and seemed to threaten the workers. He took specific issue with a parking attendant whom Sims says Madden had a “personal background with and did not like.”
“He summarized that he was bigger than the parking official and he is lucky. He did not say what he would have done, but that in itself should not have alluded too,” Sims wrote in an email regarding the incident.
Madden was then seen driving aggressively in the parking lot, and at one point stopped in a handicap drop-off area and later driving the wrong way through an exit-only lane.
Sims was called over at 4:00 p.m. and approached Madden, who complained about the parking attendant on-site. While talking to Sims, Madden, who was “visibly angry,” took out his phone and began filming.
“I welcomed him to do that because we needed to continue to address his behavior, and I was not going to accept them cussing at or intimidating my team members,” Sims wrote.
Eventually, Sims called the Cary Police Department’s non-emergency line. When police arrived, Sims said he did not want to press charges against Madden, who moved his car after being confronted by officers.
Sims said he would be reporting the incident to the state Board of Elections.
“I am often overly protective of our staff and officials, but his behavior was far overreaching what should be considered acceptable by any standard,” Sims wrote in the email.
Madden has not yet commented on the incident.
UPDATE: Madden contacted the INDY late Monday to dispute Sim’s version of events. He claims his cursing was not directed at the poll worker, but was in reference to the parking attendant present.
“I did not say anything to threaten her. There was no reason and that’s not what I would do,” Madden said.
He denied driving recklessly or parking in a handicap spot and claimed Sims did not conduct himself diplomatically during the encounter.
He did confirm to the INDY that he attempted to list his race as “Irish” when registering to vote.
“I feel that this whole white or other (thing) is continuing to hold up the binary–white or nonwhite race–within our society and if I wanted to describe myself as Irish for race there’s no good reason why I can’t,” Madden said.
He also cleared up rumors regarding his ex-wife. Although his campaign website says, “after losing his wife in 2007,” Madden says his ex-wife is not deceased but that the couple received an annulment.
“I did lose her. I never said that she died,” Madden said. “I never put into any person’s mind any assumption [that she died].”
We asked Madden if he believes he has an anger problem.
“Do I have an anger problem? I don’t think anybody readily wants to admit to having an anger problem,” Madden said, before pivoting. “I don’t like people who have a position of authority who abuse other people.”
Contact staff writer Leigh Tauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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