CASE UPDATE: Election Fraud in 197th State House Race
New Voting Integrity Guides for Elections introduced by Attorney General
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced a Philadelphia election worker has pleaded guilty to election fraud during a 2017 special election for a state House seat in the city. This marks the third election worker who has entered a plea as a result of election fraud charges brought by the Attorney General.
Thurman George, 59, of the 3900 block of N. 10th Street, Philadelphia, a Machine Inspector at Poll 43-7 in the 197th State House District special election in March 2017, pleaded guilty today to frauds by election officers, a third-degree felony, and was sentenced to 5 years’ probation and disqualified from voting for 4 years. The sentencing took place before Common Pleas Judge Scott DiClaudio.
“My job is to uphold Pennsylvania law to ensure free and fair elections,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We are drawing a clear line – during a time when the integrity of our country’s elections are being questioned – the sanctity of ‘one person, one vote’ must and will be upheld here in Pennsylvania.”
When Attorney General Shapiro announced charges against George and three other city elections workers last October, he detailed a very negative experience on Election Day in the 197th District at one polling place in particular – Poll 43-7. The charges against the four election workers detailed harassment and intimidation against voters who wanted to vote for candidates of their choice – but not the candidate being pushed by the city’s Democratic Party machine.
With George’s guilty plea and sentencing today, it marks three out of four election workers charged in the case who have either pleaded guilty to charges or in one case, been accepted into an accelerated disposition program. Charges against a fourth worker remain in the legal process.
To help prevent Elections Day fraud in the future in Philadelphia, the Office of Attorney General created a Voter’s Rights Guide ahead of next week’s primary. The office also created a guide for campaigns to follow so that campaign staff and poll watchers better understand how to follow Pennsylvania law.
“These guides are designed to help voters understand their rights and what they can and can’t do at the polls,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “The guides also outline what election workers and poll watchers can and can’t do — so voters can properly report any illegal activity they see on Election Day. When the people running our elections fail to follow the law, it undermines citizens’ faith in our democracy.”
The voters’ rights guides are available for download on the Office of Attorney General’s website in English and Spanish at www.attorneygeneral.gov/voting.
In the other election fraud cases that have been successfully resolved, Calvin Mattox, Minority Inspector at Poll 43-7, previously pleaded guilty to not meeting the qualifications of election officers for living outside the district in which he was working. He received one year of probation and cannot vote until April 4, 2020.
Dolores Shaw, the Judge of Election at Poll 43-7, received accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) for compromising the local election board. A pre-trial conference for Wallace Hill, the fourth worker charged, has been scheduled for June 6, 2018.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Nicole Forzato.
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