Tuesday, November 03, 2015
Tonya Trotter Claims Possible Voter Suppression, Irregularities, in Center City Allentown
It was too late in the day for me to get Voting Registrar Tim Benyo's side of the story, and I will do that in the next few days. But Trotter's story is so compelling that I think I owe it to her to publish excerpts of her email to me.
Since you are a whistle blower with a wide audience, I was hoping you could help me with getting the word out about two things going on in Allentown involving the election.
First thing is voter suppression. The polling location for the 10th Ward, 1st District in Center City Allentown has been changed. Voters were not made aware of this and Election Day is tomorrow. I live in this district and I wasn't notified and neither were at least five other neighbors on my block. This leads me to believe that the notices were not sent out on purpose. This district has a high Latino and African American population.
The second thing is a polling location that was supposed to be changed because it's in violation of the PA Election Code, was not. I appeared in court on May 15, 2015, four days before the primary, opposite Tim Benyo, Chief Clerk of Lehigh County Board of Elections and John Ashcraft, Assistant County Solicitor.
The election code states, “No election shall be held in the office, building or residence of a candidate or publicly elected official.” The location at 1201 Sumner Ave., is the courthouse of District Judge Patricia Engler. Judge Engler was and still is a candidate on the ballot and is a publicly elected official. This location is Judge Engler’s highest supported.
My attorney, Sam Stretton, contacted the Lehigh County Board of Elections, who responded through Lehigh County Assistant Solicitor John Ashcraft. An agreement was reached between Lehigh County Board of Elections and me, that Judge Engler’s name would be covered on the courthouse only for the primary because I didn’t want to disenfranchise any voters.
The BOE was supposed to find a new location for the November election and all future elections. They didn't. They lied to shut me up with no intention of ever changing the location. The judge who is benefiting from this illegal location has done nothing to urge the election board to change the location either.
Now they are engaging in voter suppression in neighborhoods of color. Ward 8-7 is suburban and primarily Caucasian.
Voter suppression is serious. Election Code violations are serious. They are happening in Allentown tomorrow.
Can you please let your readers know.
In a subsequent email, Trotter tells me this.
I've attached some of my campaign cards as well as the agreement between myself and Board of Elections, and the letter I sent to solicitor Ashcraft last week. Neither Mr. Ashcraft for Benyo replied to my letter. Surprisingly enough, I went out this weekend to hand out cards for my write-in campaign. Tim Benyo sent me an letter about that this morning, informing me that I might be in violation of campaign finance law.
Funny how people who are violating the election code and committing voter suppression, are worried about the $150 bucks I spent out of pocket, on palm cards.