Keep an eye out for unicorns if you happen to be traveling through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the near future. You may very well see one, or perhaps Bigfoot or the Mothman, because fictional creatures are on the loose. The latest paranormal event to show up in the City of Brotherly Love is an instance of a team of four Democratic election workers who are charged with crimes including intimidating voters, casting bogus ballots, and falsely certifying the results in their polling place. Even though we are regularly assured this never happens, our story allegedly took place during a special election held in March to fill a vacant seat in the state House of Representatives. (Philly.com)
City and state prosecutors on Monday charged four election workers with violating the state Election Code during the controversial March 21 special election for the state House’s 197th District in North Philadelphia.
Those charged include Dolores Shaw, 61, Calvin Mattox, 52, Thurman George, 57, and Wallace Hill, 60. The four — all Democrats — manned the ballot machines at the Esperanza Health Center at Kensington and Allegheny avenues in the 43rd Ward, one of the polling places where complaints about illegal electioneering were lodged.
Emilio Vazquez, the Democratic leader of the 43rd Ward, easily won the special election despite having to run a write-in campaign. He was sworn into office April 5 and will have to seek reelection to a full two-year term next year.
That result prompted a civil lawsuit in federal court by Republican nominee Lucinda Little, Green Party nominee Cheri Honkala and two other candidates, seeking to overturn the special election’s results.
Mr. Vaszuez must really inspire a lot of loyalty in his supporters because they were pulling out all the stops. Since this was a special election with write-in candidates there were plenty of opportunities for mischief and indeed, mischief aplenty allegedly took place. People who didn’t appear to be voting for the preferred Democrat were harassed when they attempted to vote. One person was falsely told the voting machines were down and then was subject to vulgarities when he returned and attempted to vote again.
Perhaps the most flagrant incident (at least among the ones we know of) involved a pair of husband and wife Republican voters who both cast their ballots for the GOP candidate. One of the votes was registered properly while the other was replaced with a write-in ballot with the name of the Democrat filled in, effectively nullifying the vote for their household.
But remember folks, voter fraud never happens. It’s just a plot to disenfranchise minorities. (And for the record, the 197th district is more than 80% minority voters and has only 5% registered Republicans.) And for the umpteenth time, this is just one place where the people involved happened to get caught.
The really humorous part of this story (assuming there’s any humor at all) is that Philly.com reminds readers that the only reason Mr. Vasquez was running in a special election was because his predecessor, state Rep. Leslie Acosta, was forced to resign after being charged with embezzlement involving a “no-show” government job where the paychecks were routed to her sister. And Vasquez wasn’t even originally supposed to be the Democrats’ nominee for the seat. The original nominee, Frederick Ramirez, was removed by a judge after it was discovered that he had falsely claimed to live in the district he sought to represent.
Now, let’s get back to looking for that unicorn. It should be worth a fortune!