Here's the mid-day dispatch from good government group Committee of Seventy:
Here is what we are hearing from the polls as of 12:30 p.m.:
· Refuse to give Judges of Election Your Photo ID: Voters in the 5th ward/18th division were given the attached letter from their two elected Democratic committeepeople telling them (1) to refuse to show their photo ID, if asked, and (2) in order to vote in the fall election, they must present a government issued photo ID. I informed the 5th ward leader (who suggested that all his committee people include this language in their handouts to constituents) that the letter has incorrect information. In fact, a government issued photo ID is only one type of photo ID that will be accepted. In Seventy's view, telling voters to decline to present a photo ID today makes it difficult to evaluate whether the "dry run" is effective in determining how many voters do not have a photo ID that will be accepted at the polls in the fall.
· Polling Place Workers Confused About Voter ID: Seventy is working the social media and getting many reports that polling place workers (1) are not educated about the voter ID law, and (2) in many locations, are not asking voters to show a photo ID, as required. One of my Seventy colleagues just came back from voting in the 1st ward/15th division and was not asked for a photo ID.
· 188th House District: The Roebuck/Muhammad battle in the 188th is as heated as expected. A Roebuck staffer reported that the Muhammad campaign is distributing a "doctored" version of the official sample ballot in the 27th and 46th wards that omits Roebuck's name and includes Muhammad's. We will let you know of any efforts to confiscate the ballots by the Roebuck campaign.
· 182nd House District: A voter just called to complain that Babette Josephs, who is fighting to keep her House seat, was inside the 8th ward/3rd division and said to him: "I know I'm not supposed to be doing this, but please vote for me, Babette Josephs." Unless they have a valid poll watcher's certificate, candidates are not permitted to enter a polling place except to cast their own vote.
· D.A. Not Investigating "Scam" Stickers on Jewel Williams' Signs: We checked up on the story in Newsworks that the D.A.'s office sent people out to investigate reports (also received by Seventy, which sent its volunteers to the site) that Jewel Williams' signs (she is running for her sheriff-father's former 197th House seat in the primary. She is not running in the special election) at the Mifflin School in East Falls were covered with "scam" stickers. A representative from the D.A.'s office, who is in Seventy's headquarters today, said that his office did not send anyone to the polling place because this "did not rise to the level of criminal activity" that the D.A.'s office would be involved in.
· Busy Day for New City Commissioner Al Schmidt: City Commissioner Al Schmidt had to personally go to the 1st ward/7th division after reports that a Judge of Elections refused to seat a court-appointed Minority Inspector – and to the 36th ward/40th division where the Judge of Elections allegedly refused to seat an elected Minority Inspector. Schmidt also visited the 36th ward/8th division to deal with a report that the Judge of Elections refused to seat a clerk brought in by the Minority Inspector. (Clerks are usually appointed by the Minority Inspector). Friction between Judges of Election (usually Democrat) and Minority Inspectors (usually GOP) have become the norm during local elections.
· More Minority Inspector Problems: We are keeping tabs on an ongoing problem in the 2nd ward/6th division (Columbus Recreation Center, 1200 Wharton St.) where an elected Minority Inspector (who is actually a registered Democrat) apparently arrived late to the polls and has been acting erratically. Commissioner Schmidt and a representative from the D.A.'s office both visited the polling place to settle the problem. The Minority Inspector left and then returned. According to the Judge of Elections, he is threatening other people on the Election Board. The City Commissioners are going to Election Court (Room 285, City Hall) to determine the appropriate action. Seventy has a representative in Election Court and will keep you posted.
· CSI: The Palbano Recreation Center in Rhawnhurst (Bustleton and Solly Avenues) was apparently broken into (not certain when this happened) and is now a "crime scene." The voting machines were moved to the hallway.
· Voting Machines/Polling Place Openings: There are scattered reports of machines not working and polling places not opening on time. The City Commissioners are handling these problems.