President Donald Trump made several unfounded claims during the first presidential debate on Tuesday night. One such claim was that his campaign's poll watchers were not allowed at an in-person voting site in Philadelphia early Tuesday.
Trump, who vehemently opposed the mail-in ballot, tried to insist that the voting in Philadelphia will not be "fair." He also questioned why the poll watchers were turned away.
What Did Trump Say?
"I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it. Today there was a big problem in Philadelphia," Trump said during the debate. "They went in to watch, they're called poll watchers, a very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out, they weren't allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things."
In Pennsylvania, parties and campaigns are allowed to assign multiple poll watchers for individual areas. These poll watchers observe the voting behavior and can even raise legal challenges.
What Really Happened?
While it was true the Trump campaign's poll watchers were blocked from the early voting site, it was not because of the "bad things" as claimed by the President. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Trump campaign did not have approved poll watchers to observe the in-person voting in Philadelphia.
The report further noted, citing officials, that polling sites were not open in the city and the locations where voters cast ballots were satellite elections offices where mail ballots could be requested, finished and submitted. However, the rights of poll watchers at such sites were different than those they get at traditional polling locations on Election Day.
"We don't give someone a poll watcher certificate to ... watch somebody fill out their ballot at their kitchen table," Al Schmidt, a Republican and one of the city commissioners, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Hours before the presidential debates kicked off, Trump tweeted saying poll watchers were not allowed in Philadelphia due to "corruption."