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Fraud charges filed over contested North Philly election

Democrats are facing charges for illegal activity during a special election.
Former Green Party candidate Cheri Honkala left, and former Republican candidate Lucinda Little, are suing to void the special election for state rep. of the 197th District over alleged electioneering. (Sam Newhouse)

Four election staff members who oversaw the heavily contested special election in the 197th District are now named in criminal allegations of voter fraud.

Wallace Hill, 60, Calvin Mattox, 52, Thurman George, 57, and Dolores Shaw, 61, were Democrats overseeing the voting at Esperanza Health Center at Kensington and Allegheny avenues during the March 21 special election for the 197th District's state representative — an election in which no Democrat was on the ballot.

Only Republican Lucinda Little was on the ballot. Green party candidate and neighborhood activist Cheri Honkala ran a write-in campaign. The Democrats got about 75 percent of the vote, electing Emilio Vazquez, to replace two previous office-holders in that district, both Democrats who left office disgraced by allegations of wrongdoing.

Little and Honkala joined forces to file a lawsuit alleging widespread voter fraud, including Democrats tricking Green Party and Republican voters into voting Democratic, pressuring them to vote Democratic and manipulating the results of some votes.

Now the Philadelphia DA's office and state AG's office seem to agree.

The four election workers are charged with violating the election code by engaging in or allowing electioneering in polling places, letting Democrats pass out campaign literature there and letting people follow voters into the polling booths.

Vasquez, a former Philadelphia Parking Authority auditor, will have to run for re-election in 2018 to keep his seat as state rep.