"15. Defendants Carol Aichele, Terence Farrell and Kathi Cozzone are elected members of the Chester County Board of Commissioners and the Chester County Board of Elections. All three are sued in their official capacities; Defendants Aichele and Farrell are sued in their individual capacities as well.
2008 Petition to Move the Polling Location to Lincoln University
29. As a result of the difficulties experienced in the 2008 Primary and recognizing that high numbers of newly registered voters and the extraordinary interest in the 2008 presidential election would translate into high voter turnout, in September of 2008 Lower Oxford East voters including the Judge of Elections, petitioned the defendants to locate the polling place to a more suitable location at Lincoln University’s campus.
33. The proposed move from the Community Center back to Lincoln University was a “no brainer,” according to Defendant Forsythe, acting in his capacity as Director of Voter Services.
34.. Nevertheless, after a Board of Elections hearing on the petition to move the Lower Oxford East polling place to the Lincoln University campus on September 23, 2008, the Board voted 2-1 to reject the petition, with Defendant Cozzone dissenting.
44. Throughout the day and night, Aaron Martin, a Republican poll watcher, challenged the identities of young African-American voters, even if they had valid voter registration cards and photo IDs. Repeated challenges of young African-American voters caused even more delays and intimidated voters. Upon information and belief, Martin did not challenge any Caucasian voters.
45. Defendant Commissioner Farrell was present in the Lower Oxford East polling place most of the day. Commissioner Farrell, an officer charged with the fair conduct of elections in Chester County, did not attempt to stop Martin’s unlawful challenges. When frustrated voters approached him to voice their concerns Commissioner Farrell shrugged and dismissed them."
In predominantly white Chester County, Pa., Lower Oxford East Township contains the largest concentration of African-American voters, largely because of Lincoln University, one of the oldest historically African-American universities in the country.
The township made national news following the 2008 presidential election, when some voters were forced to wait literally all day in pouring rain in order to vote. Many voters had to leave without casting their votes, disenfranchised by inadequate polling facilities.
Despite numerous warnings before the election that the cramped polling place would cause problems, the County Board of Elections had refused to change the location of the polling place – a tiny community center that could accommodate only two lines of voters, a small number of privacy booths, and a single ballot scanner. And even after the 2008 fiasco, the Board of Elections rejected a petition to move the polling place to the campus of Lincoln University, where it had previously been located for years."