Those Kevin Boyle “Supporters” At Your Polling Place Might Actually Be Actors
This post has been updated to include a comment from Brendan Boyle.
There are a lot of candidates on the ballot today. You know who you’re supporting for president, and you probably even studied up on the people running for Congress and attorney general. But there’s a good chance you know very little about the state Senate race in Northeast Philadelphia. So if a man approached you at your polling place in Bustleton and passionately explained why you should vote for Kevin Boyle, who could blame you if you took his advice?
But if this happens to you today, you should probably take the guy’s comments with a grain of salt — or a gallon of salt. Because he very well might be an actor.
A tipster forwarded us an email that a casting company sent to aspiring actors in the area on April 25th. We knew it was going to be good because the subject line reads, “Extras Needed for Polling Stations.”
Inside the email, the King of Prussia-based Mike Lemon Casting says “‘extras’ [are] needed for polling stations to support the candidate Kevin Boyle (Democrat). Will be needed from 7am-8pm at different polling stations around Philadelphia. A script and information will be given to each person.” A script! Oh, and they’ll be paid, of course — with money and booze. “$120/each (lunch included and food/open bar at party afterwards),” says the email.
Boyle’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mike Lemon Casting didn’t return our calls, either.
To be clear, this appears to be an ad looking for people to act like supporters outside of polling places, not an ad looking to pay people to vote. Still, our tipster wasn’t pleased with the email. “We all get bit work,” the person said. “It’s a sad day, though, when the people flagging you down on your way to vote are driven by nothing more than Stanislavski and the need to cover a portion of the rent.”
U.S. Congressman Brendan Boyle, who is Kevin’s brother, said it is “unfair” to characterize the campaign’s supporters as anything other than genuine and hard-working.
“There are 300 workers, most of them volunteers, that have been knocking on doors,” he said. “To somehow create the impression that people out here are actors is nonsense.”
Asked if Kevin’s campaign sought help from the casting company, Brendan said, “Not as far as I know.” Brendan added that independent groups are backing Kevin, as well as his opponent. “I can’t rule out” that one of those organizations hired the casting company, he said.
It’s long been rumored that in Philadelphia campaigns and their allies pay random people to stand outside of polling stations, hand out fliers, and pretend to be legitimate supporters. But what’s surprising about this email is that it’s all spelled out so plainly, and unapologetically.
Boyle is running against incumbent John Sabatina Jr., the son of the powerful ward leader John Sabatina, Sr., for the 5th Senatorial District seat. It’s a fierce race, which has pit two factions of Democrats in Northeast Philadelphia against each other: the rising Boyle brothers versus the old-guard Sabatinas and their ally Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.
Here’s the full email (with identifying information redacted):
Project: Extras Needed for Polling Stations
Date: 4/26/16; 7am-8pm
Rate: $120/each (lunch included and food/open bar at party afterwards)
Male or Female, over 21 years old, any ethnicity. “Extras” needed for polling stations to support the candidate Kevin Boyle (Democrat). Will be needed from 7am-8pm at different polling stations around Philadelphia. A script and information will be given to each person.
Information about Kevin Boyle –
He is a Democrat running for State Senate (www.votekevinboyle.com) in the Northeast, from Somerton and Bustleton all the way to Bridesburg and Port Richmond area.
This job posting does not reflect the support of this candidate or any political party by Mike Lemon Casting. The company is not affiliated with any candidate running for public office.
-Go to TALENT LOGIN at www.mikelemoncasting.com
-Enter your username & password
-Choose OPEN EVENTS under the EVENTS heading at the top of the page
-Select the red DETAILS button next to the name of the event you wish to sign-up for
-Follow the instructions on the event view page to submit
NOTE: By confirming to an event it DOES NOT mean you booked the job! We will contact you (or your agent if applicable) if the client selects you for this project. NO phone calls please!
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