Tomorrow’s election has many residents on edge.
A report by an international nonprofit that tracks militia groups said Pennsylvania is one of five U.S. states at high risk of violence through Nov. 3, based on recent activity by white supremacist groups.
In response, city officials affirmed their commitment to a safe election for city residents.
“If you are planning in Philadelphia, to try to steal our votes, I got something for you,” said District Attorney Larry Krasner. “I got a jail cell, I got charging papers, and when you get to the end of the process I have a Philadelphia jury that you can tell why you thought it was OK to steal their votes.”
Federal officials also dispatched election monitors to the city.
“Federal law entrusts the Civil Rights Division with protecting the right to vote for all Americans,” said Eric S. Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Our federal laws protect the right of all American citizens to vote without suffering discrimination, intimidation, and harassment.”
Even Mayor Jim Kenney and Lisa Deeley, chair of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, wrote a letter encouraging residents to chill out and “let your inner strength guide you.”
But at Aldi in West Philadelphia, Norma Facey-Waiters did not seem to worry about voter suppression or violence at the polls since “most of people done already came out [and] put their ballots in.”
Though she is not worried, she says, the 62-year-old still plans to lay low on Election Day.
“I’m going to do shopping today, try to get my ballot in and that’s it. I want to relax tomorrow,” she said.
As of Friday, state officials reported more than 2.2 million mail-in or absentee ballots had been returned, while more than 9 million people registered to vote.
Kisha Howard of West Philadelphia says she decided to stock up on groceries in preparation of another shutdown due to rising cases of COVID-19, rather than anything election-related. She says she plans to vote in person, and is not worried about voter suppression or intimidation.
“I feel like we may have another stay-at-home order in our future,” said Howard.
Trevor C. of West Philadelphia says he is more worried about another four years of Donald Trump.
“I’m just worried about anything resulting in his reelection,” Trevor said on his way out of Aldi.
Still, he says he decided to stock up since he was “passing by” to “try and be ready,” because “who knows what the f–k is going to happen tomorrow?”
Polls open tomorrow at 7 a.m.
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