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. Dawn

    I voted and nothing had happened, and I do live in Pennsylvania. Remember the robo-calls about the Republicans vote tuesday the 4th and the democrats vote wednesday the 5th.. I have not heard anything about the Black Panther's in years...The GOP has been very good in deception.

    By law no one is allowed to intimidate anyone, if they move quietly? Then it may not be the Black Panthers.


    November 4, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. 4sure

    I just hope people are happy once Obama is elected. Communism will not be fun. That is why I am moving to Canada. It is a joke. Yes Bush was bad, but lets not throw common sense out the window just to get something different. I am probably one of the few black people that will not be voting for Obama. I care more about the president then just what skin color is. I will Hillary was a candidate so we could get Bill back in the White House. Oh well, hello Toronto.

    November 4, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. We Are All Real Americans

    Let the guy with the certificate stay, sans nightstick. I don't care who he is or what group he belongs to, if he is certified he belongs there. otherwise, they need to hit the road. Keep it honest!

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. pssss

    You still have time to vote, please do so and know that McCain is looking out for you!

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. kinglywarrior

    Why are people saying it is "Black Panthers"? How do those two guys even KNOW who it is they are supposed to be keeping out or "securing"??
    What it was, was two randomly dumb people looking ot be important or make the news...sorta like Joe the Pumber.

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Butters

    I can't wait for this election to be over. Not because I particularly like either candidate, I just want all this junk to be done with. Life will go on either way, as it always does. Whoever wins will not honor half of their campaign promises. Both will do some things right and some things wrong. Both will inherit a heck of a lot of problems that they won't be able to fix. People will hopefully stop constantly living through politicians and arguing with each other. And a lot of voters will be dissipointed.

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Steve from Florida

    I am originally from North Philadelphia. There is nothing unusual about someone carrying a stick there....chill out people!...maybe the guy had a problem with walking....believe me, if there were a problem 50 would have handled it...

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Tara


    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. USA Voter

    McCain supporters– don't be intimidated. You have same privilege as the Obama supporters. Stay in line until you cast your vote. You'll reap the benefits tomorrow.

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Joey

    Are you seriously trying to get people to think that Black Panthers are intimidating white voters just because the news reports someone in dark clothes is standing near a polling place? That's reaching even for you old school racists. No one benefits from that kind of rediculousness

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. worriedmom

    saw the incident on utube . Why doesn't CNN say what they really ar. Black Panthers and swinging a nightstick claiming to be security when they were asked. This is what I feared would start happening. Now don't get me wrong there are a lot of good people in this country but it is gonna be the thugs that take control! Thanks a lot, Liberals!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Sarah

    What would happen if a white man in all white carring a hood showed up. he would be thrown out with no questions ask.

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. david

    more fear from the right wing.

    November 4, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Jules

    'When McCain predicts his own victory he calls it "being enthusiastic, being fired up" etc. etc…When Obama has an election night rally, McCain critizes him for being pretentitious…Sounds like double standard to me '.



    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. Carrie Pa

    Vote Obama/Biden!

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Charlene Peterman

    I just watched a interview with one of your hosts (didn't get his name) at 3:50 Eastern Time. He was questioning "Joe" the plummer. He asked his question, Joe answered, and he began taking the answer and turning it into something completely different than what Joe said. He was rude and insulting to Joe. Joe kept his head and tried to answer all the questions. The host even began to insult Joe. What kind of an interview is this! I have always watched CNN (pretty much exclusively) up until this election. You (CNN) have not been fair and/or balanced in your reporting. It is a sad day when this is all we (the public) have in the way of news reporting. We depend on the media to give us ALL the news from ALL sides. You (CNN) are failing in that respect. I am ashamed that our (this nation) media has stooped to this low. We do have freedom of speech in this country but the news media is expected to be fair and unbiased except when it is stated up front that this is a commentary and not the news. I was so upset with the way "Joe" was treated, I felt I needed to state my views. A citizen should feel free to ask questions and state his opinion without being treated in this way. He is just an average citizen. What kind of president is this setting if we become affraid to ask a question because of how we will be treated. The canidates should be asked any questions that show us their positions, state their records, and mostly show us their character. Positions will change due to the times but their character is most important. Thank you for listening.
    Concerned American Citizen,
    Charlene Peterman

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Jeff

    In columbus, ohio, there are talks of riots wether obama wins or loses. Black or white, can't we all just act like adults.

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. dew

    This is getting ridiculous! Too much chaff,....make it simple and just consider that one candidate actually respects the sanctity of life and one doesn't. I believe this says more about these two men than anything else. Please, choose life.

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Inohio

    You would not believe the email I am getting from the McCain campaign today claiming that the polling process is under siege by members of the Black Panthers. Even when Obama wins, as he is going to, the Republicans are going to whine and cry and try to claim foul all the way. Funny how those "irregularities" were just fine when they helped George Bush get into the White House, though. Can't they just admit that their guy LOST???

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Kristen

    There are reports of potential riots in Ohio. I can tell you I sincerely have an issue with a man who will not touch a bible or even look at the flag furing the pledge, running our country. Is this truely something an american would do? There will be nothing but problems if OBama/Biden win this election.

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Nick

    A nightstick?! LOL! I guess Black Panthers can't get a concealed carry permit like I have. Intimidation proof- courtesy of Glock...

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Valerie-N.C.

    the election is about who will be the best for our country not about critizing the candidates. That's childish, GROW UP!!!!! If you are old enough to vote than you should know right from wrong. I hope none of you guys have children because I hate to see what you are teaching them. RACISM and STUPIDITY!!!

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. FeministForFairness

    TE SAP, go see the video yourself. Don't just say "no one mentioned race...etc. The two men in question are in Black Panther uniforms and they are both African American. They don't seem crazy, but let's be honest, wearing a para-military type uniform and weilding a night stick is pretty intimidating.

    Poll volunteers should not be allowed to cajole, intimidate or advertise for their preferred candidate. All of that is unfair and intimidation. The second fellow should be asked to change his attire or leave.

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. Geraldine

    How is it that Fox News identified the 2 black men involved in the incident in Philadelphia as "Black Panthers" and CNN leaves that information out? Free Press, Huh?

    November 4, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. like nobody's business

    Exercise your 2nd Amendment right – a man with a beret and a nightstick ? Good luck.

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