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. jj

    just curious about the voter fraud. Ya know college kids voting in their college state and voting absentee ballots in their home state. How is that going to be resolved and stopped or cross checked to make sure we have an honest election, too many of the last ones have been a mess. They need to take at least 2 days and cross check the SS#'s of all the voters to stop the fraud.

    November 4, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Alan The Anarchist

    There is nothing in the article to indicate that the nut job was a Black Panther or a White Supremist.

    It accomplishes nothing, but hurting your credibility, to try and lay blame with so little information provided.

    All of the negative remarks made here in these comments at the expense of the Democratic Party only hurt McCain – Palin's chances of being elected.

    Your time would be better spent constructively suggesting ways to improve our country, instead of pointing fingers and incredulously laying blame.

    November 4, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. NJ

    Get these Fear Mongering Leftist Liberals out of this Country.

    Dont Fall for the Black outfits, Beret and Nightstick-

    Stand up to them and vote for the War Hero not the Socialist/Marxist/Communists


    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. tedious898

    47yo male for McCain November 4th, 2008 4:16 pm ET

    This is clearly a member of the black panthers. This is the way blacks function. They know no better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    These are the remarks of a complete reck tum. I wish these people would get psychological help before logging on

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. bob bradley

    ha- leaving out the black panther part and describing someone as a man in a black outfit and beret, that;s just as ridiculous as omitting that someone is in the kkk and just saying " man in a white sheet".

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. hometowndemocrat

    I voted this morning in California and there were no lines at all.

    I would like to thank all of the people across the country I am seeing on the news that are standing in long lines to cast their vote. Thank you for giving your time for the good of our country. You are true Americans no matter where you live.........don't let anybody tell you differently!

    OBAMA 08!

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Karen

    OMG are you people for real or just freaking out because someone else suggested it???? Wow – I must be a Black Panther because ask anyone where I work – most days I'm wearing black. Guess my laptop bag could stand in for a night stick so it is good I voted by mail so I don't get accused of intimidating Republicans....

    I think that McCain is just delusional – his behavior over the last few months would certainly bear that out and Palin just needs to GO HOME to Alaska with her secessionist husband and LEAVE US ALONE.

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Lina C.

    There was a booth set up for children to vote in Radcliff, KY. Seeing the number of young children waitng to vote during the 2.5 hour wait, was the most beautiful sign of hope; for this country anyone could witness; can't wait to read the outcome in tomorrow's paper.

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. ready for a change

    america it is time for a change and the time is now.. get out and vote for obama/biden. nothing left to say. HISTORY IN THE MAKING

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. Chris in CO

    I'm tired of the FEAR tactics we've been accustomed to over the last eight years since 9/11 for any GOD fearing child we know not to fear any man go out and vote for your choice that's the beauty of this democracy and great country we've come a long way since the civil rights era and there is still tons of work to be done be proud that we're making history this day!!!!! GOD bless

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Riiiiggghhhtt.... all you people saying "non-story"/"non-issue":

    I'm just SURE if it were a white guy wearing white robes (but hey! no "official" KKK insignia ANYWHERE, so he must not be!) and carrying an axe handle or nightstick or whatever, you'd have the EXACT same opinion. Riiiigggghhhhhht.......

    Or if it were a white guy with a shaved head wearing green military-looking attire reminiscent of Nazi uniforms (but no actual Swastika visible) doing it, same thing...

    I'm sure you'd all just be saying "oh its just a guy standing there, only loons would be threatened by it..."... sure ya would. Hypocrites.

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Giacomo M

    This Republicans sucked our country too long. It's really time for a change in many ways. McCain won't make it because the white house isn't wheel chair proof...HAHAHAH!! But on the other hand we want 'ABLACK MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE' That's the change this country needs.

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. K

    CNN, it's called the Black Panthers and it's called a nightstick, a WEAPON!!! Try something new, like reporting the TRUTH!

    CNN continues it's pathetic 24/7 promotion of Barack Obama. Journalism died in 2008. CNN helped bury it.


    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Hold On Change Is Coming

    Lee from FL....they can't keep it clean. The repubs are losing big time and they just can't take it. Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber?!!? Is that the best they have? Boy are we the biggest jokes abroad. Now the logon and read this thread and others like it.....I defy anyone say racism is not still alive on both sides here.

    It is my belief that McShames sticking it to the party one last time for not supporting him and his ideas over the years. NO one in their right mind would do what he has during this campaign. My niece who's a freshman in high school could have ran a better campaign that this.

    Too bad sooo sad. But hold on change is coming….don’t worry about a thing.

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. obama supporter

    This is just the type of thing that responsible jouralist should not be reporting. No one was hurt or arrested, it's a non-story that if blown out of proportion could make some people stay home instead of getting out to vote.

    November 4, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. CB

    Everyone is fighting... Whoever did that was indeed stupid. I dont think intimidation factor is going to swing people one way or the other. Both candidates are good, but I happen to agree more with one over the other. For the Republicans bashing Obama, you guys did a mighty fine job the past 8 years havent you? Im sure either candidate will be better than the M.I.A. president we have right now.

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Linnae

    These comments are disgusting. I'm sure you start plenty of sentences with "I'm not racist, but..."

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Roger Sizemore

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't find any mention of the beret-wearing suspect's race.

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Archie C. Williams

    47yo male for McCain, you must be a nut, or someone that was just let out of a back room that has been there for 45 years..Man you are stupied.

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Citizen Twain

    I am white and I voted for OBAMA. Why would they try to drive away White Voters? We are voting for OBAMA in enormous numbers. This is just another scare tactic by the right wing. GO LIBERALS, we may be crazy, but we're gonna WIN!

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. James in NJ

    I just wanted to say that I was at my polling station at 6AM and I voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. There were twenty people in front of me and each one was happy, hopeful, and even cheered as they left saying "Change is sweet!".

    It feels good to be a part of history!

    If you haven't yet go vote for Obama!

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. jude

    "The least educated voters will finally vote this year, and they will make an uneducated decision. God have mercy on this country." <- Didn't this happen in 00 and 04?

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. canadian for Obama

    No where in this article does it say that the person was black...
    Who cares, nothing happened and he "left without incident"... for the rest of the world's peace of mind, let's hope the Democrats prevail today!!

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Matt in Toronto

    Its real sad to see that in the year 2008 race can cause such a division in a country. If only we could simply choose a leader for their vision for the country and not some preconceived notion that they will govern to benefit a particular race. A man born to black and white parents, raised by white grandparents is simply going to govern to appease black voters? I know that race is not an American problem but rather exists around the world. My hope is that Americans, who believe that they set the standard and the world follows suit (and are probably correct in this belief), can actually set an example that the rest of the world can follow... what a wonderful world it would be it we were all just friends and neighbors and not black, white, hispanic. Fantasy? Wishful thinking? You did land a man on the moon.

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Steve

    David, if Obama wins will you promise to try and learn to form an understandable sentence?

    November 4, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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