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. Darrin From IL

    47yo male for McCain – This is not how blacks functions. Just like the KKK, Skin Heads and Neo Nazis do not reflect all White Americans, the Black Panters do not represent or reflect every African American.
    Voter intimidation should not be tolerated by ANY one. In addition, this guy or the Black Panthers are trying to use this to bring attention to THEMSELVES.

    Please keep your racist comments to yourself

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Cdub

    Beret, huh? He must have been some "Frenchy"?

    I swear, there is a certain group that is scared of everything and pushes that fear to everyone.

    It looks like their fear-tactics didn't work so well this time.

    So, was that guy Huey Newton or one of the extras from "Forrest Gump"?

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. pam Eugene OR

    Heavens no, Why should someone dressed in all black with a nightstick intimidate anyone?
    I don;t care which side he is for. He should put the stick away!
    This is America...not some third world country!

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Ayisha

    If all it takes is a person still wearing their Halloween costume to scare you away from the polls then that says a lot about YOU not about the election.

    No matter who you are voting for, nothing should stop you from having your voice heard. Contrary to popular belief, this is not just about electing a new president. There isn't just one item on the ballot!! What about education, legislating marraige, taxes, etc. Open your eyes people! Vote on what is happening in your backyard as well.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Lorianne Lynch

    I don't know if he was a Black Panther or not, but if he was so what? Why is that intimidating and why would white voters leave? If a Klan member or skin head was outside my polling place I would still walk right past and cast my vote. Some of the posters here are alarmist nuts.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |

    This comment is for the racist man who said "black people don't know any better that is so untrue. You know why because a black man is the president of United States!!!!! Obama 08!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Betsy

    To Renita, why is it anymore racist to vote for a white man, yet voting for a black man isn't?? How about each person vote for the candidate who'se ideologies reflect your own and let the race chips fall where they may? Your post was very racist and lacks logic.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. tt

    once again 47yr old man for McCain it really shows how McCain voters Think!!!!!! No wonder you are voting for McCain.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Pete

    I'd rather have a that guy than a Repub in any shape, form or size.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Dictionary

    ObamaVoter states "I think Jeb Bush should be deatined while all this is going on right now". What does the word "deatined" mean? Please elaborate.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. ryan GOBAMA!!!!

    To 47 y/o male for McCain... Thanks for highlighting the problem with this country. Stupid people making stupid guesses. Where did it say that the man was African American? Thank you for letting the whole world see how stupid you are.

    People like you need to be moved to North Korea, so you can have no rights at all.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Mike

    The video says it all, they were standing in front of the doors, slapping the nightstick in his hand..CNN is a joke ..if it was 2 white guys this would be front page stuff no bias tho right??? liers!

    McCain 08!

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. diamond

    The economy is fallen , but neither one of them is Our Saviour.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. L in DC

    Okay, just to set the record straight for the ignorant with their heads burried in the sand. The Black Panthers do exist, they have re-organized and call themselves the "New Black Panther Party." They are listed as a Security Threat Group (read: GANG) in federal prison. They are just as militant and dangerous now as before, and are actively engaged in illegal activity (read: ORGANIZED CRIME).

    Although nothing in this articles indicates the men in black outfits and berets were Black Panthers, so this whole discussion is silly. Maybe they were just fashion victims, or that is all they had in their closets. Likewise, the article fails to address the purpose for them being there. Nice journalism, did you think to possibly ASK them, CNN? Report news, or gossip? How about some investigative journalism instead of just tabloid headlines?

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. me

    To God be the glory for the great thing he is doing!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Hils

    Honestly, "Black Panthers?" So, you see a weirdo dressed like a mime, and you think it's a member of a long-defunct political organization trolling a precinct predicted to favor Obama heavily and trying to intimidate white voters who are themselves likely to vote for Obama? Ha. How about, it's just some loony guy who wants to look like he's hardcore.

    Now, if there were some actual panthers prowling around the polling place, going "rrraowr" and scaring people away, that would be a problem. No argument here.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. 47yo male for McCain

    The person that makes up a democrat is a sick individual. What's right for them is not right for the rest of the people.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. James

    This country is filled with so much hate and anger. To those who can only make racist and ignorant comments, move over! Your day has come!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Worried mom??

    Worried mom...your ignorance is only eclipsed by the fact that somehow, some way, you managed to use a computer today.

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Jay T.

    Why I am still surprised at how slimy the Republicans are and to what extent they'll go? Vote them out of office!

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Steven E

    This is America and the human race.
    Millions of people are involved. There is bound to be a fews nuts!

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Voice of Reason

    I watched the clips – these two goons were clearly tryingt o intimidate SOMEONE. Who? i have no idea. But most likely they succeeded in intimidating little old ladies who were going in to vote.

    Now c'mon. I dont care what their background is – that is rediculous.

    Whether it's the Black Panthers in Philly, or some Neo-Nazi in rural Idaho. There's no room for this nonsense.

    If your ideas cant stand on their own merit and win the hearts and minds of the people, then that's the fault of the ideology, not the voters. Trying to sway the election through force or intimidation or voter supression or any similar tactic is Banana Republic stuff – it has no place in our fair, free country.

    Geez people, just get out there and vote your conscience – and leave the name-calling and intimidation to the pundits and PACs (who we can thankfully all feel free to ignore).

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Wicked in MN

    Maybe it was Samuel L. Jackson

    No !@#%^!&@* Snakes '08

    November 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. George

    Notice how in this report they never use the words Black Panthers. CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the elite media who sold journalism to Barck Obama will do anything to spin the stories so it wont look unfavorable for Obama.

    November 4, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |

    Black panthers

    its all THE SAME!
    now what?

    November 4, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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