Philadelphia DA warns uncertified poll watchers to stay away: ‘I’ve got a jail cell’
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) on Friday offered a warning to individuals who may try to act as uncertified poll watchers in the state during next week’s elections.
“I’ve got a jail cell, and I’ve got criminal charges and you can stand in front of a Philadelphia jury — which, by the way, is a diverse jury — and you can explain why you thought it was OK to come to Philly and steal our votes,” Krasner said during an interview on CNN.
“This is the birthplace of democracy. We’re not doing this,” Krasner added. “Wannabe fascists stay home, and if your idea of how to have a democratic election is to steal it, then I’ve got something for you.”
Krasner’s message comes as Democrats voice concerns about potential voter intimidation following the Trump campaign’s calls this month for thousands of poll watchers to be dispatched across the country.
President Trump has previously called on his supporters to “go into polls” to monitor for election fraud, which Democrats claim will lead to voter intimidation.
Krasner told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that he was aware of the effort but hasn’t seen large numbers of poll watchers dispatched to the city.
“I don’t know if they just don’t know the law or if they’re deliberately just trying to be provocative,” Krasner said. “You just can’t show up and say ‘I’m a poll watcher’ anymore than you can just show up with a gun and say ‘I’m a militia.’ That’s now how this works.”
Krasner said none of the complaints that the city’s election task force have received thus far have been serious. However, he said that the Philadelphia Police Department has a plan to deal with voter intimidation at the polls.
“We’ve never really had to be concerned that a bunch of knuckleheads were going to show up to the polls with guns,” Krasner said. “If they do it this time, they’re going to have a problem.”
Pennsylvania is a critical battleground state in the presidential election, and its 20 electoral votes could hold the key to Trump’s reelection. Both Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have made multiple trips to the state in the lead up to Election Day.
Meanwhile, the campaign has been fighting with Philadelphia over their efforts to dispatch poll watchers.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Trump campaign was videotaping voters in the city as they were dropping off their mail-in ballots. A lawyer for the campaign complained that voters had been surveilled dropping off more than one mail-in ballot and demanded footage from the drop-off sites. The city denied her request.
And a Philadelphia judge previously rejected the campaign’s effort to send poll watchers into the city’s voting sites. The ruling came after unauthorized poll watchers were kicked out of satellite election offices, where officials were registering voters and processing mail-in ballots.
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