PHILADELPHIA (June 24, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announces the arrest of three elections officials, two from the 33rd Ward 5th Division and one from the 36th Ward 10th Division, and charged them with election fraud and related charges. The infractions were made respectively during the 2015 and 2014 Primary Elections.
“I continue to be outraged that our election officials, after they clearly know the rules, think that they can just walk into the voting booth and vote multiple times or vote as someone else,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “What these three have done is clearly a crime and will be prosecuted. I hope that their wrongdoing reminds everyone who is entrusted with putting on and protecting our elections that my Election Fraud Task Force is real and will continue to find and arrest people who break our election laws.”
On Election Day, May 19, 2015, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Election Fraud Task Force was called to the polling place for the 33rd Ward 5th Division (Castor Avenue and Cayuga Street) to investigate complaints of illegal election activity. When interviewed, witnesses said that they saw Robin Trainor, who was serving as the division’s Judge of Elections, go into the voting booth with her husband, William Trainor Sr. After a short time, the witnesses said that they saw Robin Trainor come out of the booth, talk to Laura Murtaugh who was the division’s Minority Elections Inspector and sign the Election District Register under the name William Trainor Jr. She then went and reset the voting machine and returned to the voting booth with her husband. After examining the Election District Register, William Trainor’s signature did not match the officially known registration signature, and when interviewed, Robin Trainor said that she went into the voting booth to tell her husband who to vote for and then signed the Election District Register as her son in order to cast a second vote.
Robin Trainor (date of birth Sept. 21, 1959) is charged with Forgery, Tampering with Public Records or Information, Conspiracy, Repeat Voting at Elections, Interference with Primaries and Elections, Fraud, Conspiracy, Fraud by Election Officers, Unlawful Assistance in Voting, and Failure to Perform Duty. Laura Murtaugh (date of birth Dec. 6, 1958) is charged with Interference with Primaries and Elections, Fraud, Conspiracy, Fraud by Election Officers, and Failure to Perform Duty.
On Election Day, May 20, 2014, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Election Fraud Task Force was called to the polling place for the 36th Ward 10th Division (1410 S. 20th St.) to investigate complaints of illegal election activity. When asked, Cheryl Ali admitted that she voted on behalf of her mother because she was ill. After examining the Election District Register, Ali’s mother’s signature did not match the officially known registration signature. Ali had previously voted for herself at the 36th Ward 40th Division. Ali served as the 36th Ward 8th Division’s Machine Inspector for the following general election despite not living in that division.
Cheryl Ali (date of birth: Dec. 22 1958) is charged with Forgery, Tampering with Public Records or Information, Repeat Voting at Elections, and Qualifications of Election Officers.
Last year, Williams created an Election Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute allegations of Election Day criminal activity. The task force continues to be part of the District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit and is staffed by assistant district attorneys and detectives.
In May of 2015, the District Attorney issued arrest warrants for four election officials from Philadelphia’s 18th Ward, 1st Division. In addition to committing election fraud, three of the four arrested lived in a different division than the one they were working in, which is a violation of the Election Code. The infractions were made during the 2014 General Election.
Trainor, Murtaugh and Ali have all turned themselves in today.