PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Toward the end of the first presidential debate, President Donald Trump once again falsely accused Philadelphia election officials of blocking access for poll watchers at newly-opened satellite election sites across the city.
“As you know today, there was a big problem in Philadelphia. They went in to watch, they’re called poll watchers. They’re very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out, they weren’t allowed to watch. You know why? ‘Cuz bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things,” Trump said during the debate.
Earlier Tuesday, President Trump and his son accused Philadelphia election officials of corruption and blocking access to poll watchers into Philadelphia voting places. The president and Eric Trump made the accusations on Twitter as the city opened seven satellite election offices on Tuesday.
Does it shock anyone that poll watchers are being blocked and kicked out of voting locations in Philly? We are in court right now! This corruption must end! https://t.co/94d90P7KTW
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) September 29, 2020
“Wow. Won’t let Poll Watchers & Security into Philadelphia Voting Places. There is only one reason why. Corruption!!! Must have a fair Election,” President Trump tweeted.
Wow. Won’t let Poll Watchers & Security into Philadelphia Voting Places. There is only one reason why. Corruption!!! Must have a fair Election.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 29, 2020
City commissioners flatly denied allegations of corruption or that anyone is being blocked from access to any polls.
The satellite centers are essential voter services locations and not official polls. They’re only accepting and processing mail-in ballots. Votes are not being cast on a machine, so that means anyone who’s not here to receive services are not permitted inside.
“The satellite offices are Board of Elections Offices that provide voter services to the residents of Philadelphia for mail-in ballots. Satellite offices are not polling places and poll watcher certificates have not been issued for any individuals for anything other than poll watching activities on Election Day at Polling Places. So individuals seeking to receive services from a satellite office are not permitted to be there for other purposes,” City Commissioner Al Schmidt said in a statement.
Commissioners say official poll watcher certificates will be issued for use at actual polling locations on Election Day.
According to CBS News’ Battleground Tracker, former Vice President Joe Biden leads Trump by five points in Pennsylvania — 52% to 47%.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid contributed to this report.