Allentown primary candidate Enid Santiago’s requested hearing on alleged election fraud postponed

Written by on July 7, 2020

Allentown primary candidate Enid Santiago’s requested hearing on alleged election fraud postponed

By Staci Inez

July 7, 2020

Photo | Staci Inez / WLVR

By a mere 55 votes, Enid Santiago lost her bid for the Democratic nomination from the 22nd district on June 2 to incumbent Peter Schweyer. 

WLVR’s Staci Inez reports on Santiago’s claims of voter fraud and suppression in Allentown.

Enid Santiago says there was supposed to be a hearing July 6th to investigate voter fraud that has already been admitted by the county.

Claiming voter fraud and suppression, the candidate filed a formal complaint three days later. A hearing was supposed to be held July 6, but since Santiago called on Lehigh County Solicitor John Ashcroft as a witness, that created a conflict of interest, requiring the hearing to be postponed. 

“You can continue rescheduling hearings, you can continue pushing back, but we’re not going to go away because this is not about my campaign, this is bigger. We have a presidential election.. We have a congressional election.. On top of the state representative election that are coming up.. If our voters do not believe that their vote counts, what makes you think they’re actually going to come out in November,” said Santiago.

She filed a complaint in early June claiming irregularities on Election Day – that Judge of Elections Erika Bickford filled in ballots and was handing out campaign materials to voters.

And she called on Assistant County Solicitor John Ashcraft as a witness. 

“We get a call from my attorney informing me he received an email from the county solicitor notifying him that no solicitor in the county could represent the board of elections because we are now calling for the assistant solicitor that was notified by Mr. Tim Benyo of the fraud he witnessed as a witness because we want to know what exactly he was told and what exactly did he ask Mr. Benyo to do,” Santiago. 

However, her request for Ashcraft’s testimony created yet another problem, according to Lehigh County Solicitor Tom Caffrey.

“It was alleged that attorney Ashcraft had engaged in some misconduct following the election and during the election, so at that point, Attorney Ashcraft had a conflict of interest which prevented him from acting as the solicitor to the election board, said Caffrey.

Caffrey says unfortunately, Ashcraft’s conflict carried over to all attorneys in the city’s department of law making them similarly ineligible to advise the board of elections at the July 6 hearing. 

He says he will hire independent counsel to advise the election board, and that Santiago’s will be heard as soon as a new attorney is hired. 

Watch Staci’s PBS39 News Tonight Report.

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