Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Dauphin County Sheriff Visits Martin-Roberts Campaign Office as Raffle Probe Mounts

The downtown Harrisburg building housing the campaign office of Gloria Martin-Roberts.

A raffle scheme offering voters the chance to win a free iPhone X has apparent connections to the Gloria Martin-Roberts mayoral campaign, but it is unclear whether the write-in candidate sanctioned it herself.

Dauphin County Sheriff Nicholas Chimienti Jr. and an investigator went to the Martin-Roberts campaign office on N. 2nd Street at about 4:45 p.m. this afternoon, where they spoke with staffers. At that time, a box with flyers advertising the raffle and flyers proclaiming, “Vote NO Papenfuse; Write in Gloria Martin Roberts,” were in the office, along with reams of blue raffle tickets.

Chimienti would not comment on the investigation as he left the campaign office just after 5 p.m.

Campaign staffers also declined to speak with reporters and became hostile when they tried to take photos inside or outside the office. People who said they were hired by the campaign to distribute flyers (pictured below) and raffle tickets also filed out of the building and declined to comment.

Several Harrisburg voters filed complaints today after receiving raffle tickets from men stationed at the entrances of polling places. At some locations, the tickets were accompanied by flyers advertising a voter turnout initiative offering voters the chance to win prizes if they voted. The raffle offered a free iPhone X, valued at $1,000, to a first-prize winner, $500 cash to a second-place winner, and a $200 Best Buy gift card to a third winner.

Subsequently, early this afternoon, Dauphin County Judge Arthur Evans issued an injunction that all raffle tickets be seized from precincts 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14. He further ordered that all Dauphin County sheriffs visit all polling stations and seize all raffle tickets.

Devar Bailey of Harrisburg said he was stationed at the 10-1 polling location at Woodbine and N. 3rd streets. He got the job after answering a Craigslist ad offering $10 an hour to hand out materials that included pro-Martin-Roberts flyers and raffle tickets.

“A lot of people took it,” he said, adding that he was recruited by a woman he identified as “Jennie Jenkins.”

Jenkins, a former candidate for mayor, refused to be interviewed for this story, saying that all questions should be directed to her attorney.

At the same location, a poll watcher left behind a bag of flyers and raffle tickets, which was later obtained by TheBurg (pictured below).

Bailey said he was instructed to visit the Martin-Roberts headquarters on N. 2nd Street at 8 p.m. to get paid. He said he worked a total of nine hours, until 3 p.m., handing out material.

While Bailey was recruited by a Craigslist ad, other large groups of poll workers were recruited from local shelters, including Bethesda Mission and Downtown Daily Bread, according to sources.

Martin-Roberts lost to Mayor Eric Papenfuse in the May Democratic primary for mayor. She declared just last week that she would mount a write-in campaign for the seat.

This story was updated to include that Jennie Jenkins refused comment.

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