Tuesday’s controversial special election to fill the state House’s 197th District seat may be moving from the polling place to federal court, as Philadelphia’s City Commissioners prepare to start tallying the votes Friday morning. Lawyers for Republican nominee Lucinda Little, the only candidate who was listed on the ballot, and Green Party nominee Cheri Honkala, who waged a write-in campaign, sent letters to the Commissioners Thursday, demanding that they seal and preserve the ballots. Both camps alleged widespread voter fraud in the North Philadelphia district. Little won just 198 votes, which was 7.4 percent of the 2,681 ballots cast. In an unusual development, 2,483 write-in votes were cast.
Democratic nominee Emilio Vazquez, like Honkala, was kept off the ballot by a Commonwealth Court judge. He ran a write-in campaign. Several others in the district also talked about running as write-in candidates.
Samuel Stretton, Honkala’s lawyer, wrote to the commissioners about “allegations of massive fraud and misconduct,” including voters being intimidated or misled, electioneering in polling places and mishandling of ballots after they were cast.
“The fraud is of such massive proportions that I am going to be seeking in federal court to void this election and to hold those accountable for their gross misconduct in undermining our democracy,” Stretton wrote.