Philadelphia motorists, beware of dirty tricks

An anonymous flier that has been circulating on windshields across Philadelphia warns voters who have outstanding arrest warrants or unpaid traffic tickets that they may be arrested if they try to vote tomorrow.

The flier, characterized by city officials as being completely false, first hit the streets in early October. The Philadelphia Daily News reported last month that the flier was circulating in black neighborhoods in the North and West parts of the city, historically heavily Democratic areas.

The flier claimed that "there will be undercover officers to execute warrants" inside and outside of polling sites. The author of the flier claimed to learn of the policy at a recent "Rock the Vote" concert.

In October, the mayor’s office asked the U.S. Attorney’s office to investigate. Asked for an update a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, Patty Hartman, told ProPublica that it was "taking the proper steps to address the matter." She also said that this flier was one of a few documents intended to discourage voting that is circulating the city. Hartman didn’t give any more details.

City officials did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment.

The flier "could have an impact" on turnout, said Zack Stalberg, president of the Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia- based election watchdog group. "I don’t want to overplay this, but it doesn’t take much to keep some people from voting."

The culprit of the flier has not been identified, Stalberg said. The flier was signed by "Anonymous."