Philadelphia Union

Judge Rules That Delco Can Register, Vote at Philadelphia Union's Stadium

Delaware County planned a pop-up voting site at Subaru Park for this week, but news of the event spurred a legal challenge from local Republicans

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A three-day voter event at the Philadelphia Union's home stadium will go on as scheduled after a failed legal challenge that, if it succeeded, could have stopped the event.

Late Thursday afternoon, a Delaware County judge allowed the collection of mail-in ballots and other elections activities that were scheduled to take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the outdoor stadium where the Philadelphia Union play in Chester.

The Union had partnered with Delaware County to allow use of the stadium for a mobile voter services center. Much like the satellite elections offices in other Pennsylvania counties, residents were invited to register to vote, confirm their status, request and drop off mail-in ballots, and ask questions about voting.

The pop-up site would allow for registered voters to request a ballot at the stadium, complete it and submit all in the same trip, Delco officials had said. Unregistered voters would be allowed to register, and then request to receive a mail-in ballot later in the mail.

The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania is coming up, on Monday, Oct. 19.

“The large open-air facility provides a safe venue to assist our residents with this election during the COVID-19 pandemic,” county Director of Elections Marianne Jackson said earlier this week.

But the local Republican Party went to court over the pop-up site. In a Facebook post and a court filing, the Delco GOP said the voting site at Subaru Park was approved by the county Elections Board without allowing for public comment before making the decision. The party claims that was "a clear and flagrant violation of Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act," which requires transparency in public meetings.

Delaware County and the Philadelphia Union partnered for a three-day pop-up voter service center at Subaru Park. NBC10’s Tim Furlong tells us more about voting in the county and a legal challenge to the stadium elections site.

The GOP wanted an injunction to halt voting activities at the stadium and contended that opening the temporary elections site was "specifically targeting just one portion of Delaware County, without consideration to the needs of the Delaware County electorate as a whole."

Going even further, they claimed that opening the mobile voter services center would be voter suppression and disenfranchisement to Republican voters.

But any Delaware County resident, regardless of their party or municipality, will be able to use the elections site at Subaru Park. It's open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Judge Spiros Angelos of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas said the local Republicans failed to establish a clear right to the legal relief they sought.

Eight county residents' names were listed as plaintiffs on the suit. They hailed from Upper and Lower Chichester, Wallingford, Aston and Chadds Ford.

In his order written Thursday, Angelos ordered the county Board of Elections and attorneys to prepare for a possible appeal over any ballots dropped off at the elections site. The Board may need to "secure if necessary the ballots produced at the mobile voter service center," Angelos wrote.

The city of Chester is home to a large base of Democratic voters, previous election results show.

Several sports teams offered their facilities to be used for voting earlier this year.

Earlier this month, the Union became the first Philly sports team to play in front of fans during the coronavirus pandemic after Gov. Tom Wolf relaxed restrictions on crowds at events.

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