District Attorney Seth Williams doubled down on rhetoric Wednesday that Philadelphia’s elections are fair and untarnished by voter fraud, despite allegations by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in recent weeks.
Williams outlined measures the city will take to prevent voterfraud, voter intimidation and other deterrents during a news conference with members of the city’sElectionFraud Task Force and the watchdog group Committee of Seventy.
“Despite what some say, we do not have rigged elections anywhere in the United States,” Williams said, “but especially here in Philadelphia, the place where our democracy was founded.”
More than 70 assistant district attorneys and several dozen detectives, the most assigned to the task force to date, will respond to any concerns voters voice on Election Day, the district attorney’s office said.
Members of the force will be deployed around the city before polls open, assigned to the Committee of Seventy’s Election Day activities and stationed in the city’s Central Election Court.
Anyone experiencing difficulty in casting their ballot, from write-in issues to illegal electioneering, can contact the task force at 215-686-9641, 9643 or 9644.
“I also want to make clear: Any attempt atharassment of a voter, no matter what reasons, will be met with the same full force of my office, that an attempt to illegally or impermissibly vote. It is not acceptable, and we will prosecute with the fullest extent of the law,” Williams said.
Williams’ news conference comes after a white supremacist group touted plans to suppress the black vote in Philadelphia.
Neo-Nazi leader Andrew Anglin and an alt-right website TheRightStuff.biz are developing plans to monitor polling places with hidden cameras, pass out booze and marijuana, and intimidate voters in “the ghettos in Philly,”Politico reported.
“Many polling locations are in schools, and black schools are so disorderly that pretty much any official-looking white person with a clipboard can gain access to them ahead of time and set up a hidden camera,” the plans state.
“You don’t really ever even have to speak with an adult,” the plans continue. “Simply walk in like you belong there and no one even asks you why you are there. So we usually go in teams of two, one person driving and one person dressed as a blue collar worker with a clipboard, and we set up a hidden camera in the school cafeteria. Go during lunchtime and the teachers are all so busy trying to contain the kids that no one says anything. We already have a few set up.
“We also have some teams going in to the ghettos in Philly with 40s and weed to give out to the local residents, which we think will lead to more of them staying home. We have had success with this in the past,” a representative with TheRightStuff.biz said in an email.
According to Politico, groups like these are energized by Trump and his camp’sclaims that the election is rigged in both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
Trump said in August, “the only way we can lose [Pennsylvania] … and I mean this 100 percent, if in certain sections of the state they cheat.”