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. obamamama

    47 yo for mccain: Because of people like you, racism is still alive. Stupidity!! I am a WHITE female, voted for Obama and will be very proud of our country when we elect a black president. It shows that biggots and haters like you are fading into the past and stand alone in your evil ways!

    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Bishop D.E. Robinson

    so I'm a racist if I don't vote for Obama? I think it's racist to vote for someone just because they are of a certain skin color. People should make decisions on the content of their character. Don't degrade Obama by giving him the "guilty" vote. Vote for him (or not in my case) because he is the best person for the job.

    Also, this story is bogus–if a man was removed from a polling place, it is not a story–if a black panther was removed, it is a story. By reporting the story and not calling the man a black panter kind of defeats the purpose of runnnig the story.

    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. From TX

    If you won't get united, we'll force you to unite.

    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Giovanni

    You could have mentioned this guy was a black panther...

    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Mickie

    This is what 8 years of the neo-con rule has done, turned us all against each other rather than making them take any responsibility for the mess we are in. Stop acting like lambs and use your mind for a change.

    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. One nation under God.

    It is pretty sad to read the comments, that grown people post on these topics, its always a fight, always an arguement, and though this is "the land of the free", I believe so many abuse their right to freedom of speech; to the point where their verbage and thoughts are illiterate. We are suppose to come together as a country and try and fix and change things that have progressed over generations. Whether your for obama-biden or mccain-palin, its about how our country is ran, for generations to come, It should not be about insignificant things like race or teenage pregnancies....Ignorance is one hell of a thing and I hope and pray that regardless of who our next Commander in Chief is, that we as Americans can work on whho we are as people and individuals and support that person in making our nation better...Good luck to both candidates and the Lord be with us all.

    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. big poppy

    "a new KING?" That's exactly the problem! Any person who believes in Jesus would never write that! There's only one KING!
    God truly help us!

    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. MarkK

    For all the conservative Christians out there who have been praying for McCain to win.... Tomorrow you will know whom God chose. God is neither a Republican or a Democrat. God is wise, just, kind and loving.

    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. victor


    November 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Damion K. Miles

    From the looks of these comments, it appears as if there are a lot of White people out there that are afraid of Black people. The guys standing outside this polling station are not Black Panthers. There is one trait, out of many, that is not race specific.....ignorance. No one likes an ignorant person unless they, themselves, are ignorant.
    This is a day that will be lawded in American History whether Barack Obama wins this election or not.
    Fear is one thing that Americans cannot afford to have at this time. I hope that those of us that are not supporting Barack Obama will support him after this day is done. Because, people, whether you like it or not., after today, he will be referred to around the world as.....Mr. President.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. believer

    a king????? you MUST be referring to Jesus, he is the only KING!!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. truthfulman

    if Obama wins there will be violence and riots from the silent majority. People will not stand for Marxism!

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. 47yo in Indiana

    all of you angry dems and repubs -chill out and act like Americans...remember we all have a country to love and build for our kids so drop the partisan anger and just act like freaking adults already

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. TJ

    Stop the hatred America. It is doing no one any good. It is our duty as citizens of this great nation, when the votes have been counted, and the electoral votes awarded, to support the winning candidate as our next President. I cast my vote fo the candidate I prefer with the full understanding that if he is not the winner, I must accept and support the will of my fellow Americans. That is what makes this nation great and that is what will keep this nation great. Unless of course, we the people decide to allow the divisiveness to continue beyond the election and into the next four years. Our enemies around the world would love nothing more...Please America, it is time to come together and honor the gift that our forefathers gave us – all of us.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. AnnaKatherine

    Give me a break people… both parties have their crazy, unstable, questionable supporters – if one can even prove this man is a DEMOCRAT! I saw a photo from Halloween – a man dressed as the GRAND WIZARD of the KKK with a rope around a woman’s neck whose face was painted black – and pinned to his costume was a MCCAIN/PALIN button. Dare I say this is representative of EVERYONE supporting McCain? So tell me, "Marie from Ohio" - what's more indicative of a "SAD DAY FOR AMERICA".

    And let me add - I am a white woman, registered republican who voted for OBAMA!

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Obar

    They WERE black men. Fox news is reporting it and showing video...maybe you should fact check first.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. T California

    Obama supporters exercising voter intimidation. Obama supporters writing blogs supporting it. Borderline stupidity.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Reasoned1955

    Cynthia...Do the research. There's photos of the incident on the web.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. meek

    Black Panthers! They don't exist anymore. If they did there presence would be known through out this election.
    There is no need to fear the black man because the white man will always find a way to cheat, still, and lie to
    Keep him down.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Jay

    I just watched the video on You Tube. Regardless of who you're voting for, no one should be allowed to carry a night-stick and claim that they are security at a voting location unless they actually are law enforcement or a security company. The actions of not one, but two individuals dressed up like this could definitely be perceived as intimidation. Watch the video for yourself, then you can make your own conclusion.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Sue

    "what appeared to be a black outfit with a beret and holding a nightstick "

    APPEARED? There is video of this, and it was perfectly clear. What's this about "fear from the right wing?" (see comments) A large man standing there w/ a nightstick? I didn't see him carrying a McCain sign. And another comment here saying "no one was intimidated?" The police were called by a voter who felt intimidated, genius. Maybe the Philly DA's office hasn't received a complaint, but I know I wouldn't be calling the DA's office to complain if I'm being intimidated. I wouldn't even know who to call at the DA's office. But everyone knows 911. I'd call the police, which is what the intimidated people did. DUH... Of course the DA's office would call it a "non-incident." The police took care of it, and the man left w/o incident. No doubt the large man w/ the nightstick would try to turn it around and call himself the victim. I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't claimed that already.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Philadelphia Resident

    Facts of the matter:

    1) This incident involved 2 men at one polling place in North Philly, a predominantly black neighborhood.

    2) The man who was asked to leave is C-R-A-Z-Y. He's a local celebrity nutjob.

    3) The police took care of it within 20 minutes.

    4) No voters were intimidated or turned away.

    5) End of story.

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Ernie Colorado

    I can't wait until electrical bills/taxes/gas etc. go up... DEPRESSION on the way, History doesn't lie... Elect your tax and spend DEM.... It's not new, fresh, or change........ Just the second coming of Jimmy Carter (Oh, with less experience).....

    Yeah! Go Obama!

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. SIMP

    If this was an incident trying to discourage white votes by having a person there that looked like a black panther, that would be ashame. Obama is going to fight for all of us not just the africian americans, he has said it many times. Obama does not want division, we have a lot of healing and wounds to heal as of now. Obama will be president for ALL the people not just one or two groups. Let unite the nation not continue to divide it.


    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Obama-Biden 08'

    There is voting issues in every election. Does the GOP really want to talk about rigged elections. The repulicans and these right wing good ol boys who think the sky is falling just because someone who does represent the Red party and doesn't look just like they do is going to be the next President of the United States of America. They have already proven that as long as your on the right side of fence then they will vote for you. Hince "Sarah Palin".

    November 4, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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