The District Attorney's Office on Wednesday charged three Philadelphia election officials with committing fraud in the 2014 and 2015 primary elections.
In Juniata Park's 33d Ward, Fifth Division, Robin Trainor, the judge of election, and Laura Murtaugh, the minority election inspector, were charged with fraud involving the May 19 primary. And in Point Breeze's 36th Ward, 10th Division, officials charged Cheryl Ali with voter fraud involving several divisions.
Cameron Kline, a spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said Trainor, 55; Murtaugh, 56; and Ali, 56, surrendered to authorities Wednesday and were awaiting bail hearings. All three were charged with various felony and misdemeanor counts of election and voter fraud and other offenses.
The District Attorney's Office has an election fraud task force to field allegations of fraud and, if needed, investigate and prosecute. Last month, the office arrested four election officials from North Philadelphia's 18th Ward, First Division, on charges of committing fraud in the 2014 general election.
"I continue to be outraged that our election officials, after they clearly know the rules, think that they can just walk into the voting booth and vote multiple times, or vote as someone else," District Attorney Seth Williams said in statement.
In the 33d Ward case, prosecutors said witnesses reported seeing Trainor go into a voting booth with her husband, William Trainor Sr., 56, and then leave a short time later to talk to Murtaugh. Trainor then signed the Election District Register under the name of her 23-year-old son, William Jr., reset the voting machine, and returned behind the curtain with her husband, the witnesses said.
Prosecutors said that Trainor Jr.'s signature did not match the official signature in the register and that, when interviewed, Robin Trainor said she joined her husband in the booth to tell him who to vote for, and signed as her son so she could cast a second vote.
Both Trainor and Murtaugh are registered Democrats, and in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-1, members of the majority party are often appointed as minority inspectors if no Republicans are available.
The charges against Ali came after officials received complaints of illegal election activity in the 36th Ward, 10th Division, during the May 20, 2014, primary.
Ali allegedly admitted to investigators that she voted on behalf of her mother because she was ill. The register signatures for Ali's mother did not match, and Ali admitted she also voted that day in the 36th Ward, 40th Division. She also allegedly admitted she served as machine inspector in the 36th Ward's Eighth Division in the 2014 general election although she did not live there.