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City Election Official Hears Complaints of Dirty Tricks on Recent Primary Day

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(City commissioner Stephanie Singer, in red dress, listens to testimony in a fourth-floor courtroom in Philadelphia City Hall.  Photo by Cherri Gregg)

(City commissioner Stephanie Singer, in red dress, listens to testimony in a fourth-floor courtroom in Philadelphia City Hall. Photo by Cherri Gregg)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dirty politics was the subject of a hearing today at Philadelphia City Hall, as voters testified about their experience during last month’s primary.

The hearing was hosted by city commissioner Stephanie Singer without approval of the City Commissioners’ office, the body responsible for conducting elections in the City of Philadelphia.   But that didn’t stop nearly 50 people from showing up.

“It was ridiculous,” said Carl Moore, one of about two dozen people who testified today.  He was campaign manager for Wanda Logan’s campaign for state representative, and says the contest with Vanessa Lowry Brown got downright dirty.

Logan lost that race.

“I was literally threatened by several judges of elections,” he recalls.   “I’m a former football player and I’m 6-foot-7, so it’s kind of humorous that somebody half my size would try to remove me.”

Other voters, poll workers, and campaign workers complained of lowdown tactics in the fight for commitee seats.  One was candidate Karen Brown, who worked in the 1st Ward, 4th Division.

“They had somebody following me and intimidating me,” Brown said.   “They had somebody following everybody who was running against the current ward leader.”

Later, in a telephone interview, Ellen Kaplan of the Committee of 70 said members of nonpartisan watchdog groups like hers should be allowed in polling places.

“If we were inside polling places, I think that would chill some of that behavior,” she said, noting that the the largest number of complaints came from wards with the most contentious races.

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