An allegation of voter intimidation brought police to Phoenixville Area High School on the morning of Election Day.
According to Judge of Elections Charlie Dewey, a man attempted to vote at the Phoenixville East 3 polling station who had an “inactive” voter registration status, meaning he hadn’t cast a ballot in over five years.
A Republican poll watcher challenged the man’s eligibility, at which point he went home to get ID, returned to the polling place, and cast a ballot. A fellow voter witnessed this exchange and cried foul, but by the time Phoenixville Police arrived to file a report, both the reporting party and the challenged voter were gone, according to Dewey.
Phoenixville borough councilman Michael Speck said it’s possible the voter may have had a disability.
Dewey characterized the challenge as standard practice, said the Republican poll watcher was just doing his job, and added that, had the man not been able to obtain his identification, he still would have been allowed to cast a ballot.
“There are two procedures we can go through [in cases like this],” he explained. “We can let him vote and have [the poll watcher] challenge it, or we can have them fill out a provisional ballot that goes in a separate envelope and is counted later at the county. If everything verifies with that, it goes through and is counted, but not in the initial returns.”
Dewey added that a separate voter, also inactive, was challenged, but she also provided identification and was allowed to vote.
Phoenixville Republican Party chairperson Brian Peppel, who arrived at the scene later in the morning, said that Chester County Republicans have a list of inactive voters and will be challenging as many of them as they come across, regardless of their party affiliation.
Peppel did admit that the county Republican’s poll watchers will be at strategic, and presumably Democrat-leaning, locations throughout the county, including in many Phoenixville polling places. He emphasized that this effort is unrelated to True the Vote.