On the night before Philly’s primary, four local election officials are accused of casting extra votes in order to balance their numbers.
Sandra Lee, 60, Alexia Harding, 22, James Collins, 69, and Gregory Thomas, 60, are all charged with election fraud. Warrants for their arrests were issued Monday. All four suspects were election officials from Philly’s 18th Ward, 1st Division.
“There’s no legally justifiable reason to vote multiple times and you cannot falsely certify that you live in a particular ward and division in order to work the polls and collect a check,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “Our democracy rests on free and fair elections, but it also relies on the fact that they are conducted properly, which is why these four individuals deserve to be arrested for what they did.”
On Feb. 16, 2015, a detective from the District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Division interviewed a poll watcher who saw the division’s election board work to correct a discrepancy between the number of votes cast and the number of voters who signed in to vote, investigators said.
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Once the polling place, the Hancock Recreation Center on 1401 N. Hancock Street, closed, the four suspects added six more votes to one of the machines to make the votes cast and sign-in books match, investigators said. Collins held the voting machine curtain open while Thomas was at the back of the machine, according to officials. Collins then allegedly registered several votes on the machine after the polls closed.
After each vote, Collins allegedly said, “one more time” and Thomas reset the machine for him to register new votes, investigators said. The poll watcher told police there were no voters inside the polling place and the doors were locked while votes were cast. Investigators say they verified the poll watcher’s testimony by examining the voting cartridge.