Election Day: Police and DA called to Kensington polling place, amid charges of electioneering
Amid insults, campaign workers in Kensington accuse each other of violating campaign law.
With a number of hotly contested seats in the state legislature up for grabs, it's not surprising that the mean streets of Kensington would see some election-day antics. Candidates have been saying for weeks that the historically fraud-plagued political wards were a powder keg, and the District Attorney's office confirmed that 2nd Senate District candidate Danny Savage's campaign yesterday asked for additional election lawyers to be on hand in the 7th and 19th wards.
And if one polling place is any indication, those predictions seem to be well-founded.
At Stetson Middle School, located near B Street and Allegheny Avenue, this City Paper reporter caught the tail end of fracas between supporters of 180th District state representative candidates Quetcy Lozada and Angel Cruz that drew police and, eventually, the District Attorney's election watchers, and Lozada herself.
Cruz's supporters and the judges of elections inside Stetson alleged that Lozada supporter Juanita Ramos blocked the entrance to the polling station and made lewd comments. Election workers said the police had been called to that polling place three times that day.
"She pushed somebody, a pregnant lady," said one Cruz supporter. "She was handing out fliers saying Angel Cruz is a [homosexual]. This is America. We don't do that here."
Ramos, a spritely older woman who said she once campaigned for Cruz, denied the allegations and accused Cruz's street team of accompanying voters into voting booths.
"They're trying to pick fights," said Ramos, referring to Cruz's supporters calling the police. "It's a tactic...I made a joke and they blew it out of proportion. They're ganging up on me because I am just one and they are many."
Lozada said Ramos was being reassigned to get-out-the-vote efforts and away from the polling place.
"[Ramos] feels that there's a need for changes. She doesn't understand how some folks can't see that. It's just her passion driving her emotions," said Lozada. "We want it to be a peaceful rest of the day, and we're going to put her out to do what she does best, knocking on doors."
Meanwhile, in the nearby race for the 197th District, members of candidate Danilo Burgos' campaign alleged that a judge of election was repeatedly flashing a shirt emblazoned with the name of his opponent, Leslie Acosta, and that his campaign workers had entered polling places, in violation of election law.
It's unclear whether any formal charges would be filed by any candidates alleging wrongdoing.