PHILADELPHIA (AP) - After complaints that dozens of Republican voting inspectors were prohibited from polling places, a judge on Tuesday issued an order declaring that all certified voting inspectors be allowed at the polls.
Deputies from the city sheriff's department were dispatched to enforce the order by Common Pleas Judge John M. Younge, according to a statement from Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. The judge also ordered that a mural of President Barack Obama, which was featured on the wall of a school serving as a polling place, be covered up.
State GOP Chairman Rob Gleason said 75 Republican election workers were prohibited from accessing polling places in the heavily Democratic city, prompting the party to seek a court order. The incidents, Gleason said, ranged from judges of elections refusing to seat minority inspectors to reports of Democrats saying "No Republicans will be allowed in the polling place."
Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, said the office was investigating a series of complaints regarding such minority voting inspectors. Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to enforce the order after the judge ruled, Jamerson said.
A spokeswoman for the state's Democratic Party did not immediately comment.
A Philadelphia judge ordered that the mural of Obama be covered up after a Republican election worker captured a picture of the mural at the polling place, according to a statement from the Republican party. A message left with the judge's chambers was not immediately returned.
The Committee of Seventy, an election watchdog group, also reported a host of problems.
In one case, the group reported there were signs saying "You need a photo ID to vote" at a number of polling places in the city; it asked election judges to remove the signs immediately.
Last month, a state judge ordered the state's new voter ID law to be put on hold for this election. Under the law, voters will be asked to show ID, but it is not required to vote. Only voters appearing for the first time in a polling place must show ID, but that also includes things such as a bank statement or utility bill.