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Letter: Pgh Tea Party targeting black voters

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Unions and voter protection groups charge that the Pittsburgh Tea Party will be targeting predominently black voting precincts around the city tomorrow and are asking the Department of Justice to send extra monitors to those polls.

In a letter sent to the department's Civil Rights Division today the groups contend that GOP/Tea Party poll watchers are being sent to almost 60 precincts in neighborhoods such as the Hill District, Homewood, Wilkinsburg and Penn Hills. "We are unaware of any history of voter fraud at any of these 59 locations. We are concerned that these locations are being targeted for impermissible, racially-motivated reasons," the letter states.

Parties and candidates are allowed under Pa elections law to send certified poll watchers into polling places. Election protection lawyers and other overseers have to be outside. The local GOP's poll watch leader, Bob Howard, told us last week that the party's officials are not looking for confrontation tomorrow but rather to ensure honest and fair elections.

UPDATE with response from Pittsburgh Tea Party leader Patti Weaver of Fox Chapel:

"Any accusations of the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement being racist are totally absurd; it's not now nor has it ever been a racist organization," said Patti Weaver, Founder of the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement. "The accusation is in the letter to the Assistant Attorney General is baseless; no precinct lists were passed out. I have no idea where our accuser got the information.

"Since most of our volunteers have taken off work to serve on Election Day, we want them stationed in areas where voter fraud has been reported in the past or areas with statistical inconsistencies.

"It is a shame that these accusatory groups are doing nothing but exploiting the black community making them think is about race, it's not. We are insuring the integrity of the election, which most Americans want, including black Americans. "

The letter and list of allegedly targeted districts is below:

DOJ Letter Re Allegheny Co With Exhibits

The full response from Patti Weaver is below:

The Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement has been attacked by the SEIU, ACLU, Advancement Project, Common Cause, Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, One Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh A Philip Randolph Institute and Pittsburgh United and accused of being racist in an unfounded letter to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement is concerned about insuring fair and accurate elections and has provided poll watching training for the grassroots members in western Pennsylvania.

Voting is a right. Voter fraud is a felony.

Many of our members have volunteered to serve on Election Day in areas where voter fraud has been reported. Experienced poll watcher, Bob Howard, C.P.A., provided nonpartisan poll watching instructions designed to detect fraud and irregularities and insure voter integrity.

"Any accusations of the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement being racist are totally absurd; it's not now nor has it ever been a racist organization," said Patti Weaver, Founder of the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement. "The accusation is in the letter to the Assistant Attorney General is baseless; no precinct lists were passed out. I have no idea where our accuser got the information.

" Since most of our volunteers have taken off work to serve on Election Day, we want them stationed in areas where voter fraud has been reported in the past or areas with statistical inconsistencies.

"It is a shame that these accusatory groups are doing nothing but exploiting the black community making them think is about race, it's not. We are insuring the integrity of the election, which most Americans want, including black Americans. "

We welcome monitors who are legally qualified to be at the polls, under Pennsylvania Law.

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