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Facebook group offers iPhone raffle tickets to Harrisburg mayoral voters; judge orders tickets seized

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iPhone X raffle image taken from the Harrisburg Mayoral Election 2017 Facebook page

HARRISBURG — A Dauphin County judge ordered deputies to seize raffle tickets offering the chance to win a free iPhoneX for voting in the Harrisburg mayoral race.

The office of Common Pleas Judge Scott Evans confirmed Tuesday that Evans granted an emergency injunction and ordered deputies to seize the raffle tickets at voting districts in Harrisburg. He also ordered the deputies to return to polling places later in the day if there is any evidence of the tickets resurfacing.

A Facebook page for the group Harrisburg Mayoral Election 2017 promised raffle tickets to those who voted in the mayoral race. A video offered a second prize of $500 and a third prize of a $200 gift card to Best Buy in addition to the iPhone raffle. It is unclear who is behind the Facebook page; no administrator is listed.

On its page, Harrisburg Mayoral Election 2017 identifies itself as “a grass roots organization raising awareness in the area of voter turnout for local elections.”

The page appears to have been created on Nov. 3.

In its initial posting, a message on the page said:

“Hello Harrisburg! This year is set to be a historical year for the election of mayor in the city of Harrisburg! Voter turnout is a very serious for all elected positions all over the country. This year as an incentive to get people out to vote and make a difference, we will be holding a raffle! The grand prize is a brand new iPhone X for your choice of carrier! Other prizes will include and $500 cash prize and a 200 gift card to Best Buy! You MUST VOTE to be entered in this Free raffle. Get on out to your polling center this center this Tuesday November 7th to make a difference and be entered to win one of these great prizes! Tickets for the raffle will be handed out at the polling stations.”

Harrisburg’s mayoral race pits incumbent Eric Papenfuse against Gloria Martin-Roberts, who renewed her campaign on Nov. 3.

Incumbent Mayor Eric Papenfuse issued this statement on the matter via Twitter:

“I strongly condemn attempts by the Martin-Roberts campaign today to hand out raffle tickets & flyers w/ a ‘cash giveaway’ for voting … such actions are a clear attempt to subvert the voting process and have no place in our democracy”