NBC10 Philadelphia - Christine Maddela
A mural of President Obama caused some controversy on Monday at Ben Franklin Elementary School. A Philadelphia court ordered for the mural to be covered up. NBC10's Christine Maddela reports.
A mural appearing on the wall of a Northeast Philadelphia school is making national news this Election Day.
The uproar started when upset voters began circulating pictures via social media after voting at Ben Franklin Elementary School this morning.
"My first thought was just that it was inappropriate for a polling place, for anything that would lead voters to be swayed in one direction or the other. This should be a place where we're free of that type of exposure. I took a picture and sent it over to the Romney team," said Corbett Brown, poll watcher.
The Republican Party quickly took action, filing a lawsuit that claimed illegal electioneering. The Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason issued this statement on PAGOP.ORG.
“Whether it’s blocking Republican Election Day workers form doing their job or violating Pennsylvania law by electioneering in the polling place, it is clear the Obama campaign has taken their campaign in the gutter to manipulate this election however they can. Based on the Obama campaign’s behavior today, it certainly raises the question: what are Democrats doing in the polls that they are working so hard to shield folks from monitoring this election?”
But not everybody thought there was something wrong with this, since the mural has been on the wall for years.
"I didn't hear any personal complaints, no one approached me, i didn't see it as a problem, because i figured most times by the time they come in the door they know who they're voting for," said Judge of Elections Tom Justice.
Judge Milton Younge, Jr. of the Court of Common Pleas ordered that the mural be covered for the rest of election day with "blank paper or similar material" so that the mural is not visible, according to Pete Williams, NBC News.
As of 2 p.m., the mural was not entirely covered. NBC10 has a crew on the scene that snapped this picture, showing a few sheets of paper covering the President's face. Later in the afternoon, his name was covered underneath the quote on the wall, as pictured below.
Republicans weren't pleased with how this matter was handled after the judge's orders were given.
"I was disappointed by the haphazard, and frankly, laughable, attempt to cover the Obama mural after the clear, unambiguous language of the order directing that the content of the mural be made invisible. I was also disappointed by the position of the Democratic attorney that it was good enough," said Attorney Linda A. Kerns on behalf of the PA State Republican Committee.
Attorney Adam Bonin gave us this statement on behalf of the PA State Democratic Committee, "Obviously we agreed that it was inappropriate to place voting machines in the same room with the mural, and we are glad this was resolved quickly and amicably."