Judge issuing order to reinstate booted Philadelphia election officials
A Pennsylvania judge is issuing an order to reinstate Republican election officials across Philadelphia who allegedly were ejected or refused entry by on-site Democratic voting chief judges, GOP officials tell Fox News.
One Republican official claimed that "just under 70" Republican election officials were blocked from Philadelphia polling sites Tuesday morning by Democrats on site. One of them, the official claimed, "was shoved out of the polling place."
"For this many inspectors to be ejected from polling places is rare, even for Philadelphia," the official told FoxNews.com.
Elsewhere in the city, a representative from the New Black Panther Party was also spotted outside a polling site. The New Black Panthers stirred controversy in 2008 when members appeared outside a polling site, one of them holding a billy club. The representative seen Tuesday morning was not armed.
The flap over the election judges, though, was widespread. Republicans claim they are obtaining a series of court orders to seat the so-called election "inspectors," and sheriff's deputies will be available to escort them.
Despite the high number of officials who were allegedly booted, the dispute itself is not uncommon for Philadelphia. Fred Voigt, legal counsel for the city commissioners, said these kinds of face-offs happen "with regularity" in the City of Brotherly Love.
"It happens all the time," Voigt said. He said court-appointed Republican officials typically show up on Election Day and end up squaring off against stand-in officials at the polling sites filling in the open seats. Part of the problem, he said, is that the Republican inspectors are appointed on relatively short notice, leading to a string of confrontations on Election Day.
"There are no cool heads here," Voigt said.
The on-site election officials are responsible for verifying the identity of voters, and monitoring for signs of fraud or disenfranchisement.