Write-in candidate accused of vote tampering

Posted: February 22, 2014

Spelling is everything if you're running as a write-in candidate for public office. The only such votes that count are the ones that precisely match the candidate's name.

Still, Dianah Gregory may have tried a little too hard last November in her quest for the post of judge of election in North Philadelphia's Precinct 28-10. The job pays $100 a day, but there are only two work days a year.

According to the District Attorney's Office, Gregory, 65, of the 2600 block of North Douglas Street, went so far as writing her name in marker near the write-in spot inside the voting booth as well as going behind the curtain to help people cast their votes.

Gregory, a registered Democrat, was charged Thursday with election fraud, tampering with records, criminal mischief, and tampering with voting machines. She surrendered to detectives of the District Attorney's Special Investigations Unit and was being processed Thursday afternoon.

Efforts to reach Gregory, who has been an Election Day worker at that polling place since 2004, were unsuccessful.

According to Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office, the investigation into Gregory began when Gregory called the election fraud hotline Nov. 5 to complain that the election was being manipulated.

When investigators arrived at the polling site, Dr. Ethel Allen School at 3100 Lehigh Ave., they got a different story from William Thompson, the official Democratic candidate for judge of election. Thompson told investigators that a voter left the polling place upset after alleging that Gregory entered her voting booth and tried to write in her name for the voter.

When investigators examined the voting booth, they found Gregory's name written in marker next to the write-in candidate button, Jamerson said. Gregory, investigators said, admitted that she wrote her name on the machine to make sure voters knew how to correctly spell her name.

Alas, it was to no avail.

According to records posted by the city commissioners, Thompson got 36 votes to run away with the election. Gregory received three votes. Each of them called her Diane.


215-854-2985 @joeslobo

Inquirer staff writer Bob Warner contributed to this article.

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