NE Philadelphia poll ordered to cover Obama mural

November 6, 2012 2:45:22 PM PST
A judge has ordered a polling place at a Northeast Philadelphia school to cover up a mural of President Barack Obama.

A photo released by the Pennsylvania Republican Party shows the mural on a wall at Ben Franklin Elementary, right behind voting machines.

The mural is a violation of Pennsylvania voter law, which prohibits electioneering and vote solicitation.

According to the court order, the mural must be covered up for the duration of election day.

Anthony Perry, who identified himself as a local judge of election, says this whole issue is much ado about nothing.

"I don't know why they're making a big deal about it. People have the right to put up whenever they want. The principal put it up there, obviously, so I don't see any problem with it," Perry said.

Also Tuesday, a judge issued a court order allowing Republican inspectors into Philadelphia polling places.

This comes as the Philadelphia D.A.'s office said it was getting more complaints than in the past election.

The biggest problem is from newly-registered voters whose names are not on the voter rolls.

"They're not on the books. We looked them up, we double-checked, we looked on the maps to make sure they're in the right division and we just don't have them," said Mary Wells, the voting judge of the 8th division, 27th ward in West Philadelphia.

Wells said they are using the Department of State website to direct people who reported to the wrong polling location. Others who are in the right place but are not on the books only have one option: to vote by provisional ballot.

"The city has rules and regulations to prevent people from voting more than one time and sometimes it creates obstacles," said Wells.

The League of Women Voters' Philadelphia Chapter is fielding calls in Action News's Call for Action center. They are receiving calls about confusion in the polls over Pennsylvania's newest voter ID law.

"Voters do not need an ID to vote," said former President Heidi Gold. She was taking complaint from polling locations all around the city.

She wants to make the voter ID rules clear.

"If they have it, great. They do not have to show it in order to vote and, if anyone is being turned away they should demand to vote on the machine," Gold said.

"As a very last resort, demand to vote by provisional ballot," she added.

The D.A.'s office said it has not received any legitimate reports of voter intimidation, adding that there have been no reports of members of the Black Panther party at polling locations. There were previous reports that the Black Panthers might show up on Election Day.


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