A transgender elections judge who has been charged with two election code violations including prying into ballots in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is set to be allowed to maintain her position for the November 3 election.
Everett “Erika” Bickford, who was also charged with insertion and alteration of entries in documents, admitted she tampered with 30 ballots during a Democratic primary race earlier this year, according to a news release from the Lehigh County district attorney’s office.
County Executive Phil Armstrong, who is a member of the Lehigh County Elections Board, said that since Bickford is an elected official, she can maintain her position unless she is impeached or found guilty.
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The Morning Call reports the following:
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin on Monday announced charges against an elections judge in Allentown’s 3rd Ward who was accused of tampering with ballots during the Democratic primary race for state representative between Enid Santiago and Peter Schweyer.
Everett “Erika” Bickford was charged with two election code violations: insertion and alteration of entries in documents, and prying into ballots, both misdemeanors.
The Morning Call continues:
During an interview with detectives, Bickford said she did not alter any ballots or change the voter’s choices, but admitted darkening some bubbles they chose, Martin said in a news release. She estimated that she darkened voters’ bubbles about 30 times, Martin said. Bickford also said she “trimmed” ballots’ jagged edges so the machine would accept them.
Bickford was not charged with altering or changing votes to favor either Schweyer or Santiago, who were vying for the Democratic nomination for the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s 22nd District.
WFMZ report: The charges stem from the primary race to pick the Democratic candidate to represent Pennsylvania’s 22nd District. Enid Santiago, who lost to incumbent Pete Schweyer by 55 votes, raised concerns about voter fraud, claiming Bickford tampered with votes in favor of Schweyer.
Santiago raised her concerns to the Lehigh County Board of Elections, which held a public hearing in July, Martin said.
The board found credible evidence of fraud, and asked Martin and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro to investigate.
Bickford turned herself in to detectives Monday on the charges, and has been released on her own recognizance, officials said.
The county will have extra eyes at her polling location on November 3.