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. Brooks

    Obamavoter- I'm an Obama supporter too, but come on man. Do some reading. Jeb hasn't been Gov. of Florida for a while now. Please stop making us look bad think/read before you type. Now lets get back to making history. This is going to me an amazing day.

    November 4, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Beak

    Well get used to it.

    November 4, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Concerned Voter

    So first a CNN reporter posted saying a Black Panther member, then it gets changed. I guess the CNN editors finally caught a glimpse of the article – and we know that the CNN editors can't have anything posted that might in any way hurt their precious candidate.

    November 4, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. This stinks, but....

    Hey guys, trying to intimidate voters really stinks, but remember...

    in Virginia, Republicans were caught handing out official-looking fliers saying that (due to large turnout) Democrats are supposed to vote on Wednesday, instead of today.

    You don't need a nightstick to disenfranchise voters.

    Also, this is one small incident in a sea of optimism and positivity.

    November 4, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Men in black with berets and night sticks......I'm voting for McCain !

    November 4, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Little white girl

    I have some black clothes and a black beret. Does that mean that I'm a Black Panther too?
    Some of you people on here are ridiculous.

    Praying for an Obama/Biden victory tonight!!

    November 4, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. missouri

    this is ridiculous. people should be able to vote without people like this intimidating them. there needs to be more control over situations like this and in my opinion they should have standards as to what these voting poll watchers and workers wear when they are doing this- come on- this is important. dress respectfully and respect other people's opinion without trying to intimidate them to vote your way.

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Dealt, Lisbon

    Much more intimidating (and I'm thousands of miles away) is McCain saying that "We never give up (thump) We will win (cough, stump, stump)." Even if he loses he won't go away???

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Renee

    What a mess the Republicans have become.

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. James


    What appears to be a man in black clothing etc? COME ON YOU LIBERAL MORONS. He is a black panther and he is there to intimidate people that are not of "color". I think CNN is racist.

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Patrick

    What in the name of Sears Portrait studio hell kind of ignorant comments are these?! It was reported there was a man in black (like the old "Suspense" radio broadcasts) – not a black man!!

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. pleeeaseee

    How do you know this wasn't someone from the McCain team? It doesn't say whether this person was for any particular group. Stop stereo-tpying people!

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Mike in Columbus, Ohio

    Why would Democrats be trying to scare away voters in a mostly Democratic neighborhood?

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Jessica

    OH PLEASE GUYS!!! This is a single crazy guy! The Black Panthers have not been an active force since the civil rights movement. Don't believe the hype!

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Stop Tax Exemption Fraud

    Hey Jimmy – why is the Catholic Church donating money for any political reason? That violates the Church's tax exempt status. If Churches want to get political and impact public policy then lets put all their property on the tax roll and use the money to balance the deficit.

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Jeanne

    Maybe it was someone who wanted to sabotage the voting machines.

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Matt

    Quit soft selling it CNN. The man in the beret with a nightstick was a Plack Panther. Have some standard of journalistic integrity and not try and cover up who he was and what he was doing.

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Russ

    Guys.... Nowhere in this article does it say that he is a Black man.

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. brian

    Blessed are the cheese makers..!

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Philly Gal

    I'm from Philly, and there are no Black Panthers here. Get a grip, folks. The DA said it was a "non-incident" and no one was intimidated. The world is not coming to an end. You're getting a little overwrought. Not good for the heart.

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Good job, voter intimidation on either side is not welcomed or tolerated. So for all you people claiming that these are "Obama's Henchmen" or whatever, shame on you for race-baiting and for those saying "what are you afraid?" shame on you too! Now, go Senator Obama and Senator Biden!

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. McCain in PA

    All the cars with McCain bumber stickers were keyed today at my polling place in PA ... several were leaving when they saw what was happening. The poll workers just told me to "vote at my own risk"

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    There is going to be so many, many things going on with this election.
    I WILL NOT vote for Obama. However, people need to leave everyone alone. This whole process from start with these two candidates has been a real mess. Nastyness from both sides,. The media have ruined this whole thing and have not been fair to the Rep. Its all one sided. These new organizations needed to stay out of it all and just report the news. PERIOD

    November 4, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. steve

    Would you please stop calling Senator Obama an African American! He is half white and half African. Would that not qualifies him as a mixed! I am very surprise and helas frustrated how many times some of the news anchors keep referring Senator Obama as the first African American to run for GOP. We all know that his mother and grandparents are white! Are they ever going to stop using the AA word mentioning of OBAMA?

    November 4, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Nicole

    GO McCAIN/PALIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23