D. A. announces election fraud task force

District Attorney Seth Williams on Monday announced the creation of a task force aimed at combating election-day fraud.

The Election Fraud Task Force will specially assign assistant district attorneys and detectives to investigate election fraud allegations, instead of handling them "based on where and when the complaints came into the office," Williams said in a statement.

"For far too long, it has been assumed that election day in Philadelphia involves inappropriate actions at the polls. I want those assumptions to end now," he said.

On Monday, Williams said, the task force charged a Castor Gardens woman with tampering with records, criminal mischief, and tampering with voting machines in connection with the May 20 primary.

Authorities said Oxana Turetsky, 64, a write-in candidate for city committeewoman, wrote her name on a voting machine in Summerdale next to the box for write-in candidates. Turetsky later admitted she had written her name on the machine, Williams said, and was expected to turn herself in Monday.

Williams also highlighted the case of a woman charged with writing her name on a voting machine during the 2013 general election.

Dianah Gregory, 65, pleaded guilty to tampering with a voting machine earlier this year, Williams said.

During the Nov. 5 election, he said, a judge of elections candidate at a Strawberry Mansion polling place told authorities that he had seen a voter leaving the polls "visibly upset," and that Gregory had gone into a voting booth and tried to "make a 'write-in' vote on the voter's behalf."

A detective found Gregory's name written next to the write-in candidate button on the voting booth, Williams said. Gregory, who was still at the polling place, told investigators she wrote her name on the machine to make sure voters knew how to spell her name, he said.

She was sentenced to 15 months on probation.


awhelan@philly.com

215-854-2961

@aubreyjwhelan