Pa. attorney general says Trump campaign video at ballot drop boxes could be voter intimidation

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By KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The Trump campaign took video of voters at drop boxes in Philadelphia in an effort to find wrongdoing. Pennsylvania’s attorney general says that may be voter intimidation.

One drop box in particular, which is outside of Philadelphia City Hall, is the subject of a complaint from a Trump campaign lawyer that was first reported by The New York Times.

In a letter dated Oct. 16 and addressed to the city commissioners, attorney Linda Kerns highlighted three instances of voters bringing multiple ballots to the drop box on Oct. 14.

Kerns says video taken by a Trump campaign representative showed one person with "what appears to be three separate ballots," a woman who "deposits one envelope and then what appears to be two additional envelopes into the drop box," and a person who "deposits one envelope and then another."

"As these incidents represent only a few voters, in a limited time period on October 14, 2020, we believe these to be just the tip of the iceberg. Without reasonable checks, this behavior continues unabated and with impunity," Kerns wrote.

The Trump campaign, which has been pushing back against drop boxes and has tried to enter satellite voting centers in Philadelphia, demanded unmanned drop boxes in the city no longer be used. If they are used, the campaign is calling on a Board of Elections staffer to always be present when available to the public and to turn away people who bring more than one ballot without good reason. They also want the names of everyone who dropped off ballots at the City Hall drop box on Oct. 14 day and surveillance footage.

A city attorney wrote back and rejected claims that the law was broken. According to Pennsylvania law, each voter can bring only their own ballot, but there are exceptions. People can submit ballots belonging to someone who is disabled or otherwise needs assistance.

In the three examples the Trump campaign highlights, there is no proof that the voters in question did or did not have more than one ballot due to any of those reasons.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in a statement to The New York Times said, “Pennsylvania law permits poll watchers to carry out very discrete and specific duties — videotaping voters at drop boxes is not one of them. Our entire system of voting is built on your ballot being private and your choice to vote being a personal one. Depending on the circumstance, the act of photographing or recording a voter casting a ballot could be voter intimidation — which is illegal.”

Trump campaign spokeswoman Thea McDonald, in a statement to NBC 10, said, "It is categorically absurd to say that filming a drop box -- especially when news outlets do the same -- is voter intimidation. President Trump fought and won to protect voters and make sure ballot harvesting remained illegal in Pennsylvania. It is the height of hypocrisy that Democrats and the mainstream media first claim there is zero evidence of illegal voting, then cry foul when Republicans transparently provide evidence."

Officials, from local law enforcement all the way up to FBI Director Christopher Wray, have said there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.