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Republican from Philadelphia requested mail ballots for voters will be sent to his PO box

The mystery of voting by mail takes place in an unremarkable place. post office box in South Philadelphia.

City election officials last week received applications from more than three dozen Republican voters through the pocket of Neighborhood. These apps requested this mail ballots be delivered to non-voter homes at PO Box 54705, an address registered with the newly formed GOP political action committee, according to state records.

Many of these voters told The Inquirer they had no idea why they ballots were sent there. Some said they never even contacted vote mail.

And still one out of everyone six Republican vote requests in 26th chamber – section of deep south philadelphia south of Passyunk Avenue and West of Broad street that voted twice for Donald Trump – listed post office box. That made this is the largest area for ballots in in city apart from nursing homes or polling stations.

“It doesn’t even make any sense,” Rose DeSantis, 35, said. who was surprised when the reporter said that the bulletin she says she never asked was sent to PO box this week. “You might think that would raise some red flags.”

At a time when Republican lawmakers and candidates were attacking mail-in voting and falsely portraying it as common with insults, requests for votes and interviews with voters reveal efforts one GOP operating on use mail ballots that can break or at least push the boundaries of State Law.

For example, part of the postal address of form – where RFP box was written – is in noticeably different handwriting of the form on many of applications, according to two sources who reviewed the documents. And this handwriting appears on multiple forms, assuming the same person wrote in RFP box for voters.

The Philadelphia city commissioner’s office, which oversees the election, said it knew of situation and “actively monitored” issue.

“After we were introduced with additional information The Philadelphia Inquirer … we started the process of contact [voters] determine if they want the new ballot to be mailed to an address they can directly get it,” said Nick Custodio, Deputy Lisa Deeley, Chairman of in city commissioners.

Some ballots It was already was sent out to order box; This will set aside for commissioners review when they return, Custodio said.

The district attorney’s office is also aware of in issue and “that there are inconsistencies with handwriting” on applications, said spokeswoman Jane Roh.

ballots seems to be an effort of one male: Billy Lanzilotti, 23-year- veteran GOP operative, South Philadelphia ward leader and chairman of Republican Registration Coalition, PAC he registered with the NGO box before that year.

In an interview, he said that everything in this situation was legal and appropriate.

“I didn’t do anything that I thought was against law,” he said.

Lanzilotti, who already runs adjoining room, also wants to become the leader of the Republicans for 26th ward. Striving for help pump out Republican voter turnout,” he said, earlier this month he started going door to door signing up residents of from 26 to vote mail.

He would hand them the form on which he or people it works with It was already filled out voter’s name and PO box as a destination, he said. Having ballots It was, he said, “a voter convenience” so that it could be delivered to them later by someone they trusted.

“There was a row of problems with in post office lately,” he said. “Checks are going on stolen out of Mail. They are like this is this way because I’m the one they trust.”

But many of voters said no know who Lanzilotti had no idea that he was applying for voting by mail. in their names.

The Inquirer spoke to 12 of 39 voters whose applications requested their mail ballots send to Lanzilotti. Only two said they knowingly filled out voting statement with understanding that it will be sent to him instead of them home the address.

Five others didn’t know their apps were asking for them ballots be redirected to PO Lanzilotti box post office at Broad Street and Castle Avenue.

And five more were adamant that they did not appeal to vote by mail at all – or at least not know this is what they did when the man showed up on the doorstep to talk to them about the May 17 primary.

Only one said that he had indeed received the ballot filed by Lanzilotti. for in her name.

» READ MORE: Pennsylvania’s biggest primary could be called on election night. But don’t get used to it.

Rose Centeno, 59 first insisted that she never vote by mail, echo false Republican mail claims ballots. But when they said the application had been submitted last a week and the ballot was mailed out in her name, Centeno said she was not surprised.

“That’s what they do,” she said. “That’s why you can’t trust the mail ballots. It’s all city fucked up up”.

She later recalled that she filled out some documents with help of Human who showed up at her door and offered help she changed her voter registration from Democrat to Republican.

Maria Morris, 55 also remembered that he agreed switch her party registering during an unannounced visit by a man at her doorstep. She signed some papers, she said, not paying much attention to what they were.

“He didn’t say anything about ballots,” she said.

And 63-year-old Joseph Tralee III insisted that he did not fill out out any documents at all.

he didn’t vote, he said, and didn’t have plans do it this month. He learned that the bulletin in his name was sent to Lanzilotti’s address when he was contacted by city officials on Thursday evening.

“I have an address on my voter registration,” he said. “If someone asks for my newsletter to send random Mailbox, I don’t sure how what can be counted.

Republicans up and down the ballots have spent two years criticizing mail-in voting, led by Trump’s lies about fraud and the upcoming 2020 election. stolen.

Top Republican Candidates for Governor Campaigning on repealing Law 77, a 2019 law that allows any voter can vote by mail. reality voter fraud in any form is vanishingly rare, and a handful of confirmed specimens in 2020 featured Republicans looking to play votes for Trump. Even in The Lanzilotti case, described by lawyers on both sides as concerning, has no evidence of fraudulent votes be abandoned.

It is not clear if Lanzilotti was behavior crosses legal boundaries, the lawyers said. Lot of it depends on details that are not yet known.

“There are some things that you describe that I think have arguments that could be made that they fit, there are some arguments that can be made that they are inappropriate,” said Matt Haverstick, an election lawyer. in Montgomery County who works with Republican Campaigns. “But the whole zeitgeist of what you say to me reeks of unlawful behavior.”

it is legal for voters have ballots sent to an address different from theirs homes – that’s what in absentia ballots were intended for in in first place.

“If the circumstances are like this, this is mail delivered to retirement. home and some kind ward takes them out of the post office and hands them out one thing,” Haverstick said. “Going to the OP box by the address for PKK? i have to think about it one. of course one It was give me pause in accordance with the Electoral Code.”

» MORE INFO: Everything you need to know about voting in May 2022 Pennsylvania primary

Voters don’t have access to order box Get them ballots. Some said they hadn’t received the ballots yet this week, which Lanzilotti said was because he busy and haven’t delivered them yet.

“I can only do this in my free time,” he said. “I have a full-time job.”

This is also it is not clear whether ballots voters allowed: state election law is not clear on question, and Act 77 has not been tested on This is.

Other legal issues are clearer.

Voters must complete out their own mail-in voting applications unless they are sick or sign permission for specific person for help them.

None of 39 requests marked any help in filling out the form. Two sources who looked through them said a lot of applications featured two different sets of handwriting, in line with Lanzilotti’s explanation that he distributed pre-filled forms to voters.

Bulletins also be returned only by the voters themselves, with the only exception for disabled voters who should expressly authorize the person to help.

Democrats claimed third party ballot delivery should allowed in Pennsylvania as it is in some other states because it provides more access for voters, especially who need help for reasons other than disability. But current the law is not allow this, as the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania confirmed in 2020.

Republicans have focused on reports of voters return several times ballots – Gov. Tom Wolf, Democrat, voted by mail and his wife returned his ballot along with with one’s own – to criticize voting by mail system.

Emphasizing that “collection of ballots” as they call it’s illegal under state law, State Senate Republicans last month, a law was passed banning drop boxes, calling it necessary step to ensure only voters who return your ballots.

The Lehigh County District Attorney sparked controversy this week when he said he would send detectives to watch. drop boxes for ensure voters return only their ballots. Lee Chapman, who as current Pennsylvania secretary of state highest- the ranking election official asked him on Thursday to reconsider. warning what can it amount to intimidate voters.

Lanzilotti said he won’t come back to anyoneCompleted ballots.

But Leonard Armstrong, 71, said Lanzilotti offered to do just that.

Armstrong said he knew Lanzilotti and trusted him for years as a “kid from the neighborhood”. So when Lanzilotti brought him his newsletter last week, Armstrong filled it out on the same day, he said and handed back in sealed envelope. He said Lanzilotti offered to deliver the bulletin on his name.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t trust him,” Armstrong said.

Lanzilotti insisted that Armstrong was wrong in telling The Inquirer that all he did was drop off Armstrong’s vote home.

As for other voters who accused him of applying for a vote without their knowledge, Lanzilotti said: “I don’t know what to say.”

“Voters signed these forms, stating that they wanted their newsletter has been sent [to me,]” is he added. – They signed it.

By Thursday night the word of unusual number of ballots dispatch to Lanzilotti began to spread throughout the 26th arrondissement.

“Everyone is talking about it. Nobody any of us knows he has a PO box,” Rose DeSantis said. “This sounds like some sort of scam or scam.”


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Tyler Hromadka
Tyler is working as the Author at World Weekly News. He has a love for writing and have been writing for a few years now as a free-lancer.

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