Domenick J. DeMuro, a former judge of elections in the southern sections of Philadelphia, has pleaded guilty to fraudulently inflating vote results for three Democratic candidates and accepting bribes in primary elections between 2014 and 2016, the US Justice Department said in a press release on Thursday.
The judge pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to deprive Philadelphia voters of their civil rights by “stuffing the ballot boxes” for candidates in primary elections in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He also admitted to violating the Travel Act, which forbids the use of cellphones to promote illegal activity, in this case bribery.
“DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear. This is utterly reprehensible conduct. The charges announced today do not erase what he did, but they do ensure that he is held to account for those actions,” said US Attorney William M. McSwain in a statement.
DeMuro, who was responsible for overseeing the election process and confirming vote totals in the 39th Ward, 36th Division in southern Philadelphia, pleaded to accepting bribes ranging from $300 to $5,000 per election from a political consultant hired by some Democratic candidates.
“Our election system relies on the honesty and the integrity of its election officials. If they are corrupt, the system is corrupt, which creates opportunities for election fraud and for the counting of fake votes,” McSwain added.
The official was said to have fraudulently added to the candidates, whose names have not been mentioned, 27 ballots in the primary election in May 2014, 40 votes in May 2015, and 46 in 2016.
While a sentencing date has not yet been scheduled, DeMuro is expected to face up to 15 years in prison.