PHILADELPHIA — Charges have been filed against four Philadelphia election workers for interfering in a March special election for a State House seat.
Dolores Shaw (the judge of election), Calvin Mattox (minority inspector), Thurman George (machine inspector) and Wallace Hill (bilingual translator) are charged with frauds by election officers, interference with primaries and elections, prohibiting duress and intimidation of voters and interference with the free exercise of elective franchise, tampering with public records, conspiracy, and other offenses.
Allegations of voter fraud, electioneering at polls and voter intimidation were reported to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office on the day of the March 21 special election — for a seat in the 197th Legislative District — and for days afterwards, the Office of Attorney General release states.
Further investigation revealed that the individuals, at poll 43-7 located at the Esperanza Health Center in North Philadelphia, violated the Pennsylvania Election Code as well as state criminal laws.
Republican Lucinda Little was the only candidate on the ballot — Democrat Emilio Vasquez and Green Party candidate Cheri Honkala ran write-in campaigns. Vasquez won the election.
“While there is no evidence the outcome of the election was impacted by the actions of these individuals, we must protect the sanctity of Pennsylvania elections at all costs,” Attorney General Shapiro said.
“The four individuals charged as a result of this joint investigation have betrayed the trust that the citizens of Philadelphia have given them to ensure a free, fair, and unencumbered Election Day,” said District Attorney Hodge. “I would like to thank the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Philadelphia Police Department for making this investigation a success. And to those heading to the polls on Tuesday, November 7, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Election Fraud Task Force will continue to monitor what goes on in our polling places, so every vote will count.”
The three incidents below come directly from the Office of Attorney General press release:
On Election Day, two Republican voters – a couple who spoke limited English – planned to assist each other at the polls, permissible under language proficiency rules. They entered the same polling booth, cast their votes for the Republican candidate, and both were under the impression that their votes were counted. One of their votes, however, was either never cast or never counted.
The missed vote should have caused an under-count at day’s end, with 24 sign-ins and only 23 votes. However, the official results from 43-7 show 24 votes cast – including 17 votes for Vazquez, 4 for Honkala and 1 for Little, plus two blank votes.
The next to last voter of the day at poll 43-7 planned to vote with the help of another voter. When the voter told the translator someone else would assist him, the translator grew aggressive and overbearing, making the voter feel as though he “never wanted to vote again,” as outlined in the affidavit of probable cause.
The final voter at polling place 43-7 became frustrated when election workers warned him not to bring information about a candidate inside the voting booth – something permitted by law. Then, the voter was told the machine was “broken”. Investigators determined the machines were operational all day.
The voter left the polls, but two people explained how to return and vote for the candidate of his choosing. Video outside shows the machine inspector uttering a expletive at the voter as he re-entered the poll. Confusion continued inside, and the voter opted to push the Democratic button. Because the Democrat was a write-in candidate, the vote was never completed or counted. However, investigators found the official machine tape revealed the final vote of the day was a write-in — for Vasquez.