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Philly GOP, Dems Clash on Minority Inspectors

Republicans say 75 credentialed election workers denied poll acces.

Update 3:30 p.m.:

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge John M. Younge ruled Tuesday that the all certified minority inspectors and their clerks be allowed into Philadelphia polling places.

The order comes after state Republicans alleged that Democrats illegally barred these GOP members from polling places earlier on Election Day. Younge's ruling ordered the Philadelphia Sheriff's Department to enforce his edict.

Moments after the starter's whistle on Election Day in Philadelphia, both political parties heaved grenades about disrupting voters.

Pennsylvania GOP officials allege that Democrats prevented 75 legally credentialed Republican election workers from accessing polling places in heavily Democratic areas in Philadelphia, which opposing party officials deny.

“This was a shameless attempt from the Obama campaign to suppress our legally appointed Republican poll watchers in Philadelphia and they got caught,” PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason said.

In the 21st Ward in Roxborough, Democratic Ward Leader Lou Agre, also the party's city election chair, denied wrong doing and said Republicans were trying to confuse voters.

"I've heard reports that in 15 divisions, they are creating an uproar. They want to keep turnout low and are being disruptive because they know Obama is going to win Philadelphia," Agre said.

Speaking outside the Roxborough Library (21st Ward, 28th Division), Agre said it's unusual for Republicans to staff both minority inspectors and clerks, and in some instance, poll workers got confused. Additionally, he said some inspectors arrived after 7:30 a.m., which is past the deadline.

The state GOP petitioned the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to seat the Republican inspectors at city polling places.

"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?” Gleason said.

Linda Wolfe-Bateman, a Republican candidate for state representative in the 194th District, is also the 12th Ward Leader in Germantown. She said she had to fight to seat a minority representative in one division earlier Tuesday.

However, she attributed the problem to a miscommunication.

"They didn't tell the Democratic ward leaders this would happen, and a bunch of new people throughout the city came into the polls. I don't think they knew what was going on," she said.

The nonpartisan Committee of Seventy said it's currently monitoring the situation on a citywide level, spokesperson Joe Grace said, and will provide an update soon.


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