Welker has alleged in a complaint filed in federal district court that a "Democrat Machine" run by former City Council President John Street, for whom Clarke formerly worked, used ghost voters, forged signatures and stuffed ballots to gain the slim victory for Clarke.
The county board of elections has called the complaint "scandalous" and asked U.S. District Judge Thomas N. O'Neill Jr. to dismiss it. The Street campaign said the complaint was founded on "groundless accusations."
Abraham also said she would review allegations leveled by Welker on Monday that Jackie McDowell, the tenant leader recently appointed to an $87,000-a-year post to oversee the Philadelphia Housing Authority's 6,400 rowhouses, voted in the May Democratic primary election from a North Philadelphia address - and served as a Democratic commiteewoman there - even though she lives in West Philadelphia.
Bruce Marks, Welker's attorney, said he was "optimistic" that Abraham, a Democrat, would eventually refer the matters to Fisher because "there would be an appearance of impropriety" for Abraham to be investigating allegations of vote fraud involving prominent Democrats.
In 1997, Abraham said it would be a conflict for her office to investigate charges that a former campaign treasurer for City Controller Jonathan Saidel, another prominent Democrat, purloined campaign funds, and passed the matter to Fisher. (A Municipal Court judge tossed out the charges on May 13; Fisher is seeking to reinstate them.)
Meanwhile, Welker's campaign efforts to get the results of the May Democratic primary election for the 5th District City Council seat overturned gained some momentum yesterday on another front.
Judge O'Neill ordered that Welker could make copies of documents at the board of elections containing signatures of voter registrations, although he limited the use of the copies to the lawsuit.
Marks said the decision was "significant" because it will permit Welker's handwriting expert to compare those signatures against poll book signatures given on Election Day.
Greg Harvey, Clarke's attorney, was unavailable for comment. Mary Schmidt, a senior attorney in the city solicitor's office, said the city would comply with the order, and "employees in the board of elections have been so instructed."
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