The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that on May 21, 2020, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Domenick J. DeMuro, a former judge of elections in Philadelphia’s 36th Division and Democratic committeeperson for South Philadelphia, has pleaded guilty to accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to stuff ballot boxes for Democratic candidates.
McSwain said that DeMuro, 73, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deprive Philadelphia voters of their civil rights by inflating the vote totals for three Democratic candidates for Common Pleas Court judge in 2015, and for other Democratic candidates for office in 2014 and 2016 primary elections. DeMuro was paid between $300 and $5,000 for each election. He also violated the Travel Act, which forbids the use of a cell phone to promote illegal activity.
McSwain did not name the Democrat candidates and did not say if they won their elections.
“Our election system relies on the honesty and the integrity of its election officials. If they are corrupt, the system is corrupt, which creates opportunities for election fraud and for the counting of fake votes. DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear. This is utterly reprehensible conduct. The charges announced today do not erase what he did, but they do ensure that he is held to account for those actions.”
In a statement, Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, denounced DeMuro’s actions:
“Domenick DeMuro put a thumb on the scale for certain candidates, in exchange for bribes. As public trust in the electoral process is vital, the FBI’s message today is clear: election interference of any kind, by hostile foreign actors or dishonest local officials, won’t be tolerated.”
DeMuro admitted that a political consultant — a former elected official whose name prosecutors did not reveal — paid him to add votes for Democratic candidates running for the bench and other federal, state, and local offices. The consultant took fees from the candidates and used part of the money to pay DeMuro.
According to court documents, DeMuro inflated vote totals by adding:
- 27 fraudulent votes in the May 2014 primary election — 22% of the 118 total votes in the 36th Division.
- 40 votes in May 2015 — over 15% of the votes in the division.
- 46 votes in 2016 — over 17% of the votes in the division.
Al Schmidt, vice chairman of the Office of Philadelphia City Commissioners, which runs elections, said his office found that DeMuro’s 36th Division had a history of more votes being cast on machines than the number of voters who signed poll books, and that his office had referred the division’s troubling vote numbers from 2014 and 2015 to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
Schmidt said that of Philadelphia’s 1,703 voting divisions, the Commissioners Office flags voting irregularities in about six divisions in each election. He said, “It was pretty flagrant, and it was repeated again and again. It was a source of frustration for me because it kept occurring again and again. We take election integrity seriously. That’s why we’ve been referring these cases since I first came into office in 2012.”
DeMuro, who pleaded guilty in March in a sealed proceeding before U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond, faces up to 15 years in federal prison when sentenced June 30.
Below is the Facebook profile pic of Domenick J. DeMuro II. (I blacked out the face of the child to protect his privacy.)