On March 21st, there was a special election for state representative in Pennsylvania's 197th district--one of the poorest districts in the state. This election was held because the previous state representative, Leslie Acosta, resigned on federal fraud charges. The state representative preceding her, J.P. Miranda, resigned on federal fraud charges. The chosen establishment candidate to replace Acosta, Freddie Ramirez, was kicked off the ballot by a judge because he does not actually live in the district. And yet the city commissioners' office confirm that Freddie Ramirez voted in the special election...
...and that's just a few of the known highlights of the legacy of corruption in the 197th district -- a pattern that runs right through the disputed special election.
While establishment political players in this district have long engaged in corrupt behavior including around Election Day, the March 21st election displayed widespread instance of voter intimidation and election fraud that shocked even the voters in the 197th:
- Dissemination of misleading literature implying the Cheri, who has lived in the district 30 years is an "outsider" and that Cheri -- who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution, Tim Canova's Progress for All, and progressive activists Joshua Fox, Rosario Dawson, and Tom Morello -- is a "Republican."
- At the Beauty School polling place, Honkala poll workers were told they could not put up Honkala signs because this is a “Democratic district."
- At the Wyoming Branch Library polling place, establishment Democrats had set up a table outside with sign-in sheets and stickers, giving voters the impression that this party-run table is the place to check in to vote, rather than the actual check-in station inside the polling place.
- At the Munoz Marin School polling place, a table was set up right next to the voting machine, covered with literature for Democratic candidate Emilio Vazquez, with voters being told that the table has “what they need to vote.”
- At the Bethune School polling place, judges of elections held and distributed Vazquez stamps.
- At the Barton School polling place, a voter who walked into the polling place with Cheri Honkala’s stamp was told by the election workers that she “had the wrong stamp.” The Honkala stamp was taken away and the voter was given a stamp for Emilio Vazquez.
- At the Esperanza Health Center polling place, a Honkala voter was point blank asked by the election workers who she was voting for.
- An elderly Latina woman reported on video that she was afraid for her safety and that she and other senior citizens were intimidated into voting for Vazquez.
- At the West Kensington Ministry polling place, an election worker was captured on video coming out of the polling site and taking money from a Democratic poll worker.
- At the Hartranft School polling place, Mr. Vazquez was inside sitting and talking with the Election Board even though Vazquez was a candidate.
- At Vazquez's "victory party" -- held on Election Night, 3 days before ballots were even counted -- a photograph was taken of a person holding one of the ballot boxes, which were supposed to be securely in the hands of police or city commissioner staff.
These are only a few of the specific tactics and stories of voter intimidation and election fraud that were reported by Democrats, by Greens, by Republicans, by Independents...
We have filed in federal court for a new special election--a fair election run by the rules so that we can actually know the choice of the people. You may not live in the 197th District nor even Pennsylvania, but as long as establishment political players are allowed to manipulate elections in these and other ways, the ability for the people to self-determine their government is, at minimum, severlyy limited.
Please sign below to let the establishment know that we will not stand for corruption in our elections in the poorest parts nor any part of our country. And then share this with your friends.
Join us in demanding a new, fair election in the 197th!