Marie Beren, a former staffer for a Philadelphia councilman, is facing federal charges for election fraud.
The prosecutor, appointed under Biden, has filed four charges: one count each of conspiracy to deprive persons of civil rights, voting more than once in federal election, conspiring to illegally vote in federal election, and aiding and abetting.
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She also conspired with a person identified only as “Consultant #1,” described by the prosecutor as a “political consultant and former elected official.”
Philadelphia Magazine speculated that “Consultant #1” refers to Ozzie Myers, a local Democrat notorious for his corruption.
In 1984 the consultant recruited Beren to serve as a committeeperson for the Democratic Party, the complaint says. Four years later, he installed her as a judge of elections.
After that, Beren worked as a poll watcher between 2015 and 2019, during which time she committed the alleged crimes.
The prosecutor elaborated on Beren’s alleged conspiracy with the consultant. Take a look at these excerpts from the complaint —
While defendant MARIE BEREN effectively ran the polling places… Consultant # 1 gave defendant BEREN directions to add fraudulent votes to candidates supported by Consultant # 1, including candidates for judicial office whose campaigns actually hired Consultant # 1, and other candidates for various federal, state, and local elective offices preferred by Consultant # 1 for a variety of reasons…
While the polls were open, defendant MARIE BEREN would advise actual in-person voters to support Consultant # 1’s candidates. Defendant BEREN would also cast fraudulent votes in support of Consultant # 1’s preferred candidates on behalf of voters she knew would not physically appear at the polls… thereby diluting the ballots cast by actual voters…
Defendant BEREN would report to Consultant # 1 how many “legit votes,” meaning actual voters, had reported and cast ballots…
Defendant MARIE BEREN would also permit and encourage individual voters… to cast ballots on behalf of absent family members who had not appeared at the polling station in person…
Defendant MARIE BEREN, and others known and unknown to the United States Attorney, would falsify the List of Voters and Party Enrollment… by recording the names, party affiliation, and order of appearances for voters who had not physically appeared at the polling station to cast their ballots in the election. Defendant BEREN, and others known and unknown to the United States Attorney, would then cast fraudulent ballots purportedly on behalf of these eligible voters who had not, in fact, appeared in person to cast ballots themselves.
The list goes on.
During her stint as a poll watcher, Beren also worked as a staffer for City Councilmember Mark Squilla.
Chief of Staff Anne Kelly King told Philly Mag that Beren no longer works at the councilmember’s office. She also said that Beren originally came to Squilla’s office as a holdover from the administration of the former incumbent, Democrat Frank DiCicco.
Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican, told Philly Mag on Wednesday, “These allegations are an encouraging sign that our partners in law enforcement continue to investigate and prosecute voter fraud at polling places, as they’d done in the past in conjunction with our office.” The commissioner’s office supervises all elections in the city.
The case has been assigned to a judge appointed by former President George W. Bush. It remains unclear whether Beren ever cast enough votes to tip an election.
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The Horn editorial team