About those Bibles at the polls in Philadelphia

As Brad Friedman notes here, there are Bibles at the polls in all the precincts in
Philadelphia. I thank him for this email, as it gives me the chance to clarify my
recent item on the Bible incident reported by Dan Buskirk.

I sent that item out not just to note the presence of that Bible in Dan’s polling
place, but because of the poll-worker’s weird non sequitur, which seemed
unnecessarily evasive, if the Bible’s purpose there was innocent.

And so my subject line (“Another Bible at the polls in Philadelphia”) was certainly
misleading; and I thank Brad for resolving the confusion.



Just to be clear, as noted in my article about Lindsay Granger’s experience being forced to swear on a bible in Philly (, the city’s Administrator for Voter Registration, Bobby Lee, confirmed to me that all precincts in the city are supplied with a bible in their package of election materials. So we know, in fact, that (for whatever silly reason) there will be a bible in each precinct unless they change their procedures in the future.

Also noted in the article were four complaints, other than Lindsay’s, called into the 866-OUR-VOTE election protection hotline about those bibles as well (See here, here, here and here.)

So, in fact, we know they are there in all Philadelphia precincts. Whether they should be, of course, is a different matter. But just wanted to clarify that neither my article, nor the election administrator in Philly was trying to suggest that the presence of the bible was an anomaly in Philadelphia since, as he concedes, it’s been included in their election materials “for ages”. Only the use of it for swearing in a voter was/is (theoretically) the anomaly here.

Just hoping to clarify that, so you don’t get buried by folks confirming they also saw a bible at their Philly precinct, since it was likely the case this year at every precinct in the city.


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