The Philadelphia Inquirer investigated the mystery of why more than three dozen mail ballot applications from Philadelphia’s 26th ward were requested to be sent to the same post office box, registered to a Republican political action committee:
The ballots appear to be the effort of one man: Billy Lanzilotti, a 23-year-old GOP operative, South Philadelphia ward leader, and chairman of the Republican Registration Coalition, the PAC he registered at the P.O. Box earlier this year.
Lanzilotti, who already runs a nearby ward, also wants to become the Republican leader for the 26th Ward. Aiming “to help pump out the Republican voter turnout,” he said, he began going door-to-door earlier this month and signing up residents of the 26th to vote by mail.
He’d hand them a form on which he or people he works with had already filled out the voter’s name and his P.O. Box as the destination, he said. Having the ballots sent there was a “convenience to the voter,” he said, so it could be hand-delivered to them later by someone they trusted.
“There’s been a number of problems with the post office lately,” he said. ”Checks are being stolen out of the mail. They like it this way because I’m someone they trust.”
But many of the voters said they don’t know who Lanzilotti is and had no idea he was submitting mail ballot applications in their names.
The Inquirer interviewed 12 of the 39 voters and the vast majority were, at best, confused about what they had signed and/or where their ballot application would be sent.
It’s not clear yet whether Lanzilotti broke any laws, the Inquirer says, but a lawyer who works with Republican campaigns told the paper that “the whole zeitgeist” “smacks of unlawful conduct.”