“I don’t think there was any way to need or feel intimidated in any form,” Mr. Rastatter said. He added that county officials asked the group on several instances to back away from the curb, and that the group complied.
Bryan Graham, the chairman of the Fairfax County Democrats who was also at the polling center, saw it differently, writing on Twitter that “the Republicans are straight-up attempting to intimidate voters at the government center.”
In an interview, Mr. Graham said he’d “never seen or heard of anything like this happening before.”
“I was there when the county executive was there and I saw him walk multiple people through the crowd because they didn’t feel safe,” Mr. Graham said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate. We shouldn’t be doing things to make people feel unsafe.”
Steve Descano, the county attorney, did not directly address the demonstration in a statement posted to Facebook on Saturday, but said that he was “instructing my office to pursue cases of voter intimidation that may occur.”
Virginia election law states that it is illegal to “hinder or delay a qualified voter in entering or leaving a polling place,” and that it is also prohibited to perform any kind of political advocacy within 40 feet of any entrance to a polling place.
Videos of the demonstrators quickly went viral on social media, and show them gathering outside the entrance, holding up Trump campaign signs and chanting as voters walked past them.
Some election rights groups said that the Trump group might have still crossed a legal line.
“In Virginia, the safe zone around the polling location is only 40 feet, but that safe zone is for campaigning and trying to change a person’s vote,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause, a voting rights group. “Outside of that, in general, there are laws against intimidation. So I would say that even if they have a right to campaign, which they absolutely do, they do not have a right to interfere with someone’s right to vote or to intimidate them.”