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

Man asked to leave Philly polling place

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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, 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. Judith

    I want to keep my God, my country and my money. They can have their "change." People are upset because people are only seeing what they WANT to see. God bless the U.S.A.

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. VA democrat

    In Indiana, two election watchers were ejected because they were only challenging the right to vote of democratic voters. At George Mason University in VA, 35,000 students, faculty and staff received a fake (though quite authentic looking) email from the provost of the university saying that election day had been moved to Nov. 5 (similar to stories about official looking flyers directing democrats to vote on the 5th). Since students at Mason tilt heavily to Obama, it seems likely a republican sympathized was behind this fake email, as they like were behind the incidents in the tidewater area of VA.

    Look, I support Obama but I think all incidents of voter intimidation or suppression are deplorable. But you McCain supporters out there: please don't imply that only democrats do these things.

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. irish

    I guess all you Obama supporters will be roiting in the streets when your man doesn't win.

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    That's your modern-day republican party…..every low-life scourge of society is a republican. Certainly not your father's GOP

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Leigh

    Why will CNN not acknowledge it was a Black Panther? Seriously.

    November 4, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Darlis

    How would these gentlemen know which white voters were supporting Obama, which millions are of course or he wouldn't have a chance of getting elected? So why would they want to intimidate white voters as you suggest? Doesn't make much sense does it?

    November 4, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Jeff Ryan

    The article NEVER mentioned the man was a Black man. The article never mentioned race at all! He wore what appeared to be black clothes. This is another typical GOP offshoot dirty trick. Read "how to rig an election".

    November 4, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Two Guys

    Hardly a ground swell. Two self appointed overseers trying to be more than they are.

    November 4, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. slickingdom in N.J.

    Another ATTENTION SEEKER that's what I call him. A black outfit and
    beret doesn't qualify a person to be a black panther. It's about their
    ideologies and philosophy . Let's get on with casting our votes and
    shutting down that McCain machine.

    Obama/Biden '08/'12

    November 4, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Jarvis

    Black Panther?!? And here I was imagining a burly white guy that looked like a Marine, intimidating voters of color. There are a lot more white guys intimidating latinos and asians with threats of deportation than there are people of color scaring away white voters.

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. 4sure

    The least educated voters will finally vote this year, and they will make an uneducated decision. God have mercy on this country.

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Henry

    They will do anything they can to take your eye off the prize.

    Get out and VOTE!!!

    Obama/Biden 2008

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. 47yo male for McCain

    This is clearly a member of the black panthers. This is the way blacks function. They know no better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Joey D

    Go back to your caves neo cons, a new King is coming!

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Ken

    Yes, this is all much ado about nothing.

    Imagine the blood curdling howls from the left had two Klansmen been standing outside a polling place in Alabama.

    Sure, no controversy at all. Pot, meet kettle.

    Sadly, is is just a taste of what criticizing Obama will get you under his administration.

    Make sure your papers are in order folks!

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Concerned American

    Typical conservatives, scaring voters away by intimidation. The Republicans haven't won the presidential election fairly the last two elections and here they are trying to steal it again.

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Bill

    Anonymous November 4th, 2008 3:52 pm ET

    You need to leave joe the plumber alone

    You could do a crying rant and send to Youtube, like "Leave Britney Spears alone" or you could recognize that "Joe" was nothing but a G.O.P. plant, that hates paying ANY taxes (e.g. 1300 tax lean on his home), has no intention whatsoever of buying his bosses plumbing business, (doesn't even have a license, or belong to the union as he has claimed). And from recent interview is a racist and a Semite rouser, to the point were even Fox news had to recant his idiotic claims! Leave Joe the Phony alone, I don't think so!

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. Humor

    BO08 spells boob. Seems appropriate.

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. CNN NEVER Posts My Posts...wonder why!

    I saw the video online of this episode. It's obvious this guy is a Black Panther! I am very scared of what will happen if Obama wins. I am even more scared of what will happen if anything were to happen to Obama. I mean, just look at this guy and read this story!!!

    Just out of curiouslty, I would like all people who read this post to truthfully answer this question: If you're so in favor of equality and change as your reasons for voting for Obama, then what is your position on gay marriage? How can you be for equality and change and not want to allow fellow citizens the rights everyone else enjoys? Answer – you're all hypocrites! Especially all the pastors and preachers out there who preach about equality, but seek to deny it to all people who wish to legally marry the person they love.

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Peter (CA)

    @ Rick 3:54

    No, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz are Republicans.

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. wb

    Joe was arrested for being a plumber in disguise after halloween.

    November 4, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. please

    Jimmy –
    first who cares?
    Second, if you bother to do any research instead of just spewing right wing crap, ACORN is required by law (yes required by law) and one more time, REQUIRED BY LAW to submit ALL (all) one more time ALL voter registration forms submitted to their organization. It is not their place to pull out fraudulent registrations, that is against the law. What they do is pull the ones they believe need to be questioned and flag those for the state to look at. That is all they can do.

    Seriously dude, get a life.

    November 4, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Thank you CNN

    Thank you CNN, this story was getting out of hand, I thought a whole gang of AA were standing out side the polling area beating up white people, hollering black panther! black panther!
    I believe people are making things up by the hour on today.

    November 4, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. kfadams

    Gee....last time I looked, the only people I saw carrying night sticks were old white guys in sheets. What's wrong Republicans? You can dish it out, but you can't take it when someone else carries a stick? Have you ever considered the fact that he IS security?

    Awful lot of racists jumping to conclusions. Guilty concience?

    November 4, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Frankie

    Hmm, looks like the unfiltered video didn't make it through the filter.

    You can find the video on Y o u T u b e. It's called "Security patrols stationed at polling places in Philly."

    That way, you can determine for yourselves without the media filter.

    November 4, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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