Monday, September 22, 2014
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Top Republican: "questionable" that Philly turnout was so high

Top Republican: "questionable" that Philly turnout was so high

People sign in before casting their vote, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at<br />polling location inside the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in<br />Northeast Philadelphia where a Barack Obama mural  painted on a wall behind two voting booths was ordered covered up by a Philadelphia court. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
People sign in before casting their vote, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at polling location inside the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia where a Barack Obama mural painted on a wall behind two voting booths was ordered covered up by a Philadelphia court. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

 

The day after election day is supposed to be a time for the parties to kiss and make up.

Not today. Not in Pennsylvania.

A war of words, of sorts, has broken out after Republican House Speaker Sam Smith seemed to suggest today that turnout in some Philadelphia precincts was "staggering" - almost too high to believe.

"You know I was told that 90 percent of the precincts in Philadelphia County turned out over 90 percent of voters," said Smith, of Jefferson County.

Asked to explain his comments, Smith added: "I’m saying 90 percent of the precincts turning out 90 percent of the voters is ... It’s questionable. I know counties where the people work their tail off trying to get people to come out to vote and they don’t hit 90 percent in 90 percent of the precincts."

Asked whether he was saying there was fraud, Smith replied: "Maybe a good investigative reporter could track some of that down."

As Smith was talking, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) was, not-so-subtly, trying to end the line of questioning. He stood up. He called out the name of GOP spokesman Steve Miskin, in hopes, no doubt, the latter would put an end to it. He tapped his fingers on his leg.

But Smith was already off.

And then, so were Democrats.

Democratic Senator Vincent Hughes, of Philadelphia, called those comments "offensive," "outrageous" and borderline racist.

He called Republicans "dinosaurs," and said Philadelphians came out to vote because they were tired of "hard-right" Republican agenda.

"If they believe there was a corruption of the process, then go to court and challenge it. Show the people of Pennsylvania," said Hughes. "Beyond that, shut up."

Smith's math does not add up or not. Overall, voter turnout in Philadelphia was around 60 percent, according to state election figures. For Smith to be right, 90 percent of voters in 90 percent of precincts would have meant turnout of more than 80 percent.

 

 

 

 

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About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based right in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.



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