Local/State

Voter intimidation complaints in Philly - Philadelphia News

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Philadelphia voters are the victim of a new type of scare tactic.

The Committee of Seventy political watchdog group has received a number of complaints about what appears to be a voter intimidation scam in Philadelphia.

A flier has been distributed in some Philadelphia neighborhoods. It suggests that people with legal troubles or unpaid traffic violations will be arrested by undercover cops when they show up to vote. It also says cars with unpaid tickets will be towed.

None of which is true.

"I think they're just trying to discourage people from coming out to vote. I think that's the wrong way to go about it," Kim Hartfield-Stokes of Southwest Philadelphia said.

"I would presume it would benefit the Republican Party," Lisa Gochee of South Philadelphia said.

It's not clear who distributed the anonymous flier that's written in the voice of Joe or Jane citizen, but the nonpartisan Committee of Seventy believes it was authored by a Republican Party supporter and aimed at Obama supporters. Fliers were left in heavily Democratic neighborhoods where more voter registration has increased and more voters are likely to support Barack Obama over John McCain in the upcoming presidential election.

"This region will probably control whether Obama or McCain win this state, what the turn out here is and what the margin is especially in Philadelphia," Zach Stalberg of the Committee of Seventy said.

"My guess is they just want people to feel scared. They don't want you to come out and vote. You registered to vote and you don't come out and vote," Akeem Bar of North Philadelphia said.

Those who monitor elections expect to see more of these types of scams designed to influence voter turnout, as Election Day approaches, they anticipate those scams will target voters on both sides of the political aisle.

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