Election Watchers Track Low Primary Voter Turnout

Committee of Seventy reporting fewer polling place problems than usual

The free and fair election, good government group, The Committee of Seventy reported minor issues at polling places, to go along with low voter turnout figures in Philadelphia.

By late afternoon, The Committee noted one ward with an impressive showing, approaching 20 percent turnout. In Ward 2, Division 8 (First Councilmanic District), 77 out of the 424 registered voters had cast ballots.

Otherwise, throughout the city, campaign workers are struggling to get 10 percent of registered voters to the polls.

The Committee is also monitoring complaints of improper electioneering.

“Our volunteers are getting a lot of practice reminding campaigners not to get within 10 feet of the place where voting is taking place,” said Ellen Mattleman Kaplan, Vice President and Policy Director for the Committee of Seventy.

Among the disputes are claims that voters’ names are not in the poll books (the voter may use a provisional ballot), certain candidates’ names are not on the ballot and disputes over campaign handouts.

One example involved sample ballots handed out, supporting Republican mayoral candidate Karen Brown. Supporters of Republican John Featherman argued in Election Court, that the source of those ballots was not clearly identified. The judge denied a request to ban further distribution of the ballots.

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    The Committee noted, with amusement that as of 3 p.m., the number of voters matched the Ward number in at least two areas of the city:

    41 voters in Ward 41, Division 3 (Sixth Councilmanic District). 479 are registered.

    55 voters in Ward 55, Division 1 (Sixth Councilmanic District). 548 are registered.

    Polls will remain open until 8 p.m.

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