A senior official, who is responsible for overseeing the entire election process and voter activities on polling day, agreed to receive the penalty for electoral fraud.
Former Judge of Elections Domenick DeMuro pleaded guilty to interfering with the outcome of the 2016, 2015, and 2014 primary elections in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
DeMuro, 73, admitted he used his former paid position to fraudulently fill ballot boxes with fake votes, in favor of specific Democratic candidates for the 39th ward and 36th division.
DeMuro revealed at each election an unnamed political consultant paid him and other election board officials between $300 to $5,000 in cash, checks, or “consulting fees.” The consultant would also explain how to illegally add votes on voting machines that helped the preferred Democratic candidates for judicial office increase their chance of winning.
These fraudulent votes were added to the totals during Election Day, and DeMuro would later falsely certify the voting machine results were accurate.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged DeMuro on two counts of conspiring to deprive Philadelphia voters of their civil rights and violating the Travel Act, which prohibits using a cellphone to promote bribery.
“DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a statement. “This is utterly reprehensible conduct. The charges announced today do not erase what he did but they do ensure that he is held to account for those actions.”
The DOJ criticized the questionable act for compromising the integrity of elections, the “cornerstone of our democracy.”
“I want the public to know that this investigation is active and ongoing, and my office is taking every possible step that we can to ensure the integrity of the upcoming primary and general elections in the nine counties of the eastern district of Pennsylvania,” McSwain said.
The department and the FBI hope the conviction will discourage poll workers from participating in “election fraud for profit.”
“Election interference of any kind, by hostile foreign actors or dishonest local officials, will not be tolerated,” FBI special agent in charge Michael Driscoll said. “This is an active, ongoing investigation and we are asking anyone with information on election fraud to contact the FBI.”
Pennsylvania State Police are assisting with the investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the head office by phoning 717-783-5599 or visiting the website.