November 4th, 2008
03:47 PM ET
6 years ago

Man asked to leave Philly polling place

Voters checked in a Philadelphia polling place Tuesday.
Voters checked in a Philadelphia polling place Tuesday.

(CNN) - A man wearing what appeared to be a black outfit with a beret and holding a nightstick was asked by police to leave a polling location in Philadelphia Tuesday, according to Philadelphia County Board of Elections Supervisor, Bill Rubin.

Rubin says the man left without incident. He says another man wearing similar attire had a poll watcher certificate and was allowed to remain at the polling site at 1221 Fairmont Avenue.

A video posted on Youtube, by electionjournal.org, shows two men standing several feet in front of the entrance to Guild House West, the polling location for the 4th Division of Ward 14 in Philadelphia. The cameraman in the video asks a man with a nightstick who he's with and the man responds, "I'm security." The cameraman later says "I think it might be a little bit intimidating that you have a stick in your hand."

Rubin says local election rules state a person cannot be within 10 to 15 feet of the entrance to a polling place unless that person is voting, is a poll worker, or has a poll watcher certificate.

Rubin says anyone practicing voter intimidation outside that 10 to 15 foot perimeter could pose a public safety issue and would be handled by the police.

Cathie Abookire, a spokewoman for the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, says the office is not investigating the matter, calling it a "non-incident." Abookire says, "We have had no complaints from any voters that they have been intimidated."


Filed under: Pennsylvania • Voter Problems
soundoff (559 Responses)
  1. Steve

    A new king is coming regardless there Joey D.

    November 4, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Betsy

    Was trying to tune into CNN to see if they give impartial election coverage. You were doing fine until that ridiculously skewed interview with Joe the Plumber. He is not a fraud, only asked a candidate a question, which thrust him into the spotlight. The interviewer intentionally misconstrued what Joe was saying and put contentenous words in his mouth, which Joe didn't even say. What is hard to understand about the principle of fair taxation, not pitting one group against another? Raising taxes for one group and then giving 'rebates' to others, some of whom don't even work, is Socialistic. No question about it. Nobody needs higher taxes right now, cut government spending. CNN could have a mix of viewers instead of just liberals if they were balanced in their reporting.

    November 4, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. kara

    As a first time voter, I sure learned alot from this election. I saw exactly what the Republican Party was capable of. They are so full of anger and hate. I doubt I will ever beable to look at a Republican candidate without thinging of what they were in this election.

    November 4, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. ITdawg

    Wait...how do we know the race of the intimidator? That wasn't mentioned. It just said he was wearing black. And perhaps he was there to protect not intimidate. We have been inundated with stories about pollster bullies. Maybe they were softcore vigilantes. That's right, I said softcore.

    November 4, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Joe from Philadelphia

    Not my polling place, but I don't live far from there in downtown Philly. We really don't have Black Panthers. Lots of other dumb racist African American groups (I'm called a white devil on the street a few times per year) – but no Black Panthers. Sounds like a legitimate poll watcher got a little carried away, taking his role more seriously than he should – and brought along a friend who also mistakenly thought poll watching was supposed to be confrontational.

    November 4, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. bob

    Remember Hitler's rise to power? Good grief.

    Voter intimidation? No one reported any. This is so a non-issue.

    This isn't an isolated incident? Because "there are stories out there that it is happening elsewhere"?

    Halloween was last week–did you paranoids forget???

    November 4, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Dan the Man

    Beret?...I bet he's just a wannabe artist...

    but unlike CNN, let's review the facts:

    "appears to be a black outfit"
    "beret"
    a camera man
    someone says "I think it might be a little bit intimidating that you have a stick in your hand."
    diverse area of town...

    hmmmm...is this CNN or Cinemax?

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Bishop D.E. Robinson

    What's with the censors-they were BLACK PANTERS

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. MISS_TX

    I THINK PEOPLE ARE IGNORANT FOR THE THINGS THEY DO......WHO WOULD HONESTLY GET SCARED INTO VOTING FOR MCCAIN I AM PRAYING THAT BARACK OBAMA WINS SO FINALLY WE AS BLACK PEOPLE CAN FINALLY MAKE HISTORY THIS IS WHAT MARTIN LUTHER KING JR FAUGHT FOR AS WELL AS MALCOLM X AND TODAY IS FINALLY OUR DAY

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. karen raleigh

    why dont they ask for id in raleigh, nc

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Former_republican

    You've got to be kidding! The black panthers doesn't exist. The fact that he left without incident may mean that he didn't really want to make any trouble but possibly waiting there in case trouble were to start by a McCain supporter. But seriously, it does look intimidating.

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Simon

    Ahh this is what happens with Obama-Mania. This is only the beginning.

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. mb

    Did you expect anything less from someone in PA they are trying to scare everyone into voting for Obama Not for me I want someone that knows something about the Military and he wasn't in it so there you go

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Gayla

    The Black Panthers have just as much right as the KKK to place their vote as long as they are not verbaly attacking people and are being respectful, their dress attire should not matter.
    I am a white female and do not for any reason believe that they were there to intimidate white people as was said a few remarks back.

    Thank you

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Ron

    I find it interesting that there is no mention in your online coverage that the man with the night stick was dressed in black panther garb. Had the man been dressed in a white hood I submit that you coverage would have been much different.

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Tory

    GO MAac and Sarah .... I hope for a repeat of 04. I hope the pols as wrong now as the ywere then ., but wait the media reports the polls, we know who the media wants in office... it could be anybodys' game boys and girls ... don't open your wine yet.

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Mike

    Ever hear of the Guardian Angels?

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Jo-Ann..New York

    HELLO YOU PEOPLE...

    NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!!!

    THE BLACK PANTHERS ARE NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE, AND FOR YEARS.....ANYTHING TO CAUSE CONTROVERSY!!!!

    YOU PEOPLE NEED TO GROW UP...HAVEN'T YOU HAD ENOUGH OF FEAR MONGERING FROM THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN....

    THIS BLACK WHITE THING IS REALLY GETTING ON MY NERVES...

    I NEVER SAW THIS IN ANY OTHER ELECTION..WHY...CAUSE THIS TIME WE HAVE BI-RACIAL CANDIDATE....IS THIS THE 21ST CENTURY OR ARE WE BACK IN THE 1950'S!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Donna

    To Veteran for McCain – if McCain was so concerned for the veterans he would have made that his number one committment to correct the system while in the senate. He would have fought to have the best for the veterans, but instead he fought for the best for himself. He uses his captivity to play on Americans sympathy. If he had really done anything for the veteran system then they would not have found the medical facilities in such awful condition. If he had helped all veterans and seen to it that they were provided the best health care, paid tuition, better salaries, etc. then I would be on his side, but if you really think about it what has he done while in office, but be a yes man for Bush? He says he will take care of the veterans, well he does not have to president to do that, he can do it now as a senator.

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Vote for Ameica, LIP? Not sure you can make an informed decision when you can't even spell the name of our country correctly.

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. leo

    I don't think that "scare tactics" would be necessary in this neighborhood. It houses all different types of people. A very Diverse group of people who are likely to be voting Obama/Biden. It is probably someone that is taking it too far. A crazy person.

    November 4, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. anonymous

    more like fear from the left wing, its like the bombardment of bias media always supporting Obama/Biden.

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Jackie in Colorado

    I hope Elizabeth Dole gets her just desserts. Vote her out the door tonight!

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. LBW

    I just voted a little while ago. There was no security there. The only police personel were in line to vote. A stick is a weapon. That person had no place there other than to vote.

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Tim from Colorado

    BTW....I am a VETERAN and a Democrat voting for MCCAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND PROUD OF IT. It's not about voting to fullfill a dead mans dream! It should be Country First!!!!!!!! You crazy Liberals are all Obamabots following the Messiah around like sheep. NOT ME!!! GO USA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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