Two-term City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and her challenger, Manny Morales, are hurling voter fraud accusations at each other. Each side claims to have evidence of wrongdoing at the polls in Philadelphia’s 7th District.
Worries were mounting before the election that voting machines would malfunction, while other observers fretted that election rules wouldn’t be followed in the voting divisions within the boundaries of the City Council race.
“Unfortunately, when the polls opened, we discovered that our fears have been realized,” said Anthony Campisi, a spokesman for Quiñones-Sánchez.
He said poll watchers have reported overcounting of votes, inappropriate assisted voting and cash payments to judges of elections.
Meanwhile, the Quiñones-Sánchez team went to state court several times Tuesday claiming that pro-Morales sample ballots did not have “paid for” disclaimers, rendering them illegal.
A judge granted an injunction on the sample ballots, and officials stopped them from being passed out to voters outside polling places.
In an interview with Al Dia, Quiñones-Sánchez said, “Someone is going to go to jail after this election. It’s going to happen.”
At the same time, however, the Morales camp is contending that some Quiñones-Sánchez campaign workers are also ignoring election rules.
“We have proof that it’s actually her intimidating voters, and they’re walking inside the polling places with T-shirts reading ‘re-elect Maria Quiñones.’ We’ve forwarded our evidence to the district attorney’s office,” said Jose Giral, a Morales spokesman.
By late Tuesday afternoon, more than 60 complaints had been reported to District Attorney Seth Williams’ office; about 25 of them arose from the 7th District.
“That area is one of the busiest for us, but we’re getting complaints from around the city, ” said Williams’ spokesman Cameron Kline. “Some are unfounded, some are nickel-and-dime stuff, and others we’ve sent assistant district attorneys to investigate.”
Just after 7:30 a.m., election officials at the Villas del Caribe at 167 W. Allegheny Ave. confirmed that voting machines were malfunctioning, causing discrepancies between voter signatures and machine votes.
Shortly after, the election official said the difference had been sorted out but wouldn’t elaborate on how this happened.
On Monday, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for four Philadelphia officials on charges of fraud after they allegedly tampered with a voting machine in the Nov. 4 general election to balance out vote counts.