Philadelphia man charged for forging 2019 election petitions
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia political consultant is facing criminal charges after allegedly forging signatures to get Democratic nominee clients onto 2019 primary ballots in the city, according to the Attorney General's office.
The charges announced Wednesday against political consultant Rasheen Crews, 46, stem from the May 2019 primary elections for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and Philadelphia Municipal Court. Petitions for nearly a dozen candidates show that over one thousand signatures were duplicated, the Attorney General's office said in a statement.
Crews was paid between $1.50 and $2.50 per signature by clients who sought to complete the paperwork needed to be included on the Democratic ballot for the 2019 primary, according to the affidavit. However, the complaint states, rather than collecting the signatures legally, Crews either forged, or hired others to forge, signatures by renting out hotel rooms where workers would copy down names and addresses onto petition paperwork.
Some pages were allegedly photocopied, or the voter names found across the various petition pages did not live at the addresses listed, or identified voters who said they had not signed, the affidavit states.
Several of the candidates withdrew from the race in 2019, and two told an investigator in the affidavit that they dropped out because they didn't want to be associated with Crews or felt uncomfortable remaining in the race following the allegations. Several remained on the primary ballot.
Anthony Kyriakakis was ultimately elected to the Common Pleas Court in 2019. His office had no comment on the charges. Other candidates have been elected in subsequent elections.
Crews was charged with two felonies, criminal solicitation to commit forgery and theft by failure to make a required disposition. Arrest records released early Wednesday did not show any attorney information.
“In advance of the 2023 municipal elections, this arrest is an important reminder that interfering with the integrity of our elections is a serious crime,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is also the Democratic governor-elect.
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