Phila. commissioners may
gain in erudition
For a quick idea of the primary
election's impact on Philadelphia politics, consider this: When
the next set of city commissioners gets together for its first
meeting next January, there's a good chance that two out of the
three might hold Ph.D.'s.
The first and most likely is
Stephanie Singer, a mathematician who came to the Philadelphia
area to teach at Haverford College and got seriously involved
in politics working for Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign.
On Tuesday, after an aggressive
campaign promising reforms and targeting one of the strongest
figures in city politics, Singer defeated Marge Tartaglione,
the combative Northeast Philadelphia ward leader who has presided
over the city election machinery since the mid-1970s. [MORE AT
5/20 Ups & Downs
Philly Reformers. It all adds
up: Stephanie Singer's historic defeat of City Commissioner Marge
Tartaglione, Republican voters' rejection of Frank Rizzo, Al
Schmidt's success in getting on the ballot, and John Featherman's
performance in the mayoral primary, and the other freshmen Philly
Councilmembers. If campaign promises of reform and transparency
are kept, it will be a new era in the City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia's Machine Politics
Suffers a Blow
... The emergence of Stephanie
Singer has enormous implications. She will be one of three city
commissioners, replacing Mrs. Tartaglione. She is the first PhD
to sit in that office. Generally speaking, that hasn't been a
job requirement. As a former candidate with a laser-like determination,
I must say Singer's focus and discipline impress me. She is a
comer. If Al Schmidt, one of two Republicans nominated for this
office and a leader of the anti-Republican machine faction, also
wins in November, these two could align and change the entire
culture of the Philadelphia electoral process. This could be
truly historic and something to watch. [MORE AT LINK]
A reformer plays the game
(article about Stephanie's
inside-strategy reform campaign)
Case in point: Stephanie Singer.
This spring she became a Democratic
candidate for city commissioner, the three member panel that
runs elections in the city. It's an office most voters know little
or nothing about, so it's usually won by those with the backing
of ward leaders. The two Democratic incuments, Marge Tartaglione
and Athony Clark were backed by the party and thus expected the
support of most if not all the city's 69 ward leaders.
Singer is a center city ward
leader herself, but one with a true reformer's profile. Years
ago she was so frustrated with the commissioners' inability or
refusal to post past election returns on the web that she set
up her own site and sued state election officials to get the
data she needed at a reasonable price. Her site is now up and
serving the public for free.
In her campaign, she targeted
the 78-year old Tartaglione, a nine-term incumbent, leader of
the 62nd ward in Northeast Philly and an emblem of machine politics.
Tartaglione was weakened by
an ethics probe that had forced her daughter's resignation from
her office last year, and by the $288,000 DROP payment she took
four years ago.
So Singer had a message, some
momentum, and a chance for media coverage in a year when there
was no mayor's race to speak of.
Still, conventional wisdom
was that ward leaders rule in bottom-of-the-ticket races like
this, so it was Marge's to lose. And damn, she did. [MORE
MORE ELECTION ARTICLES FROM AROUND
Philadelphia: A Tale of
Two Cities (discusses
late returns and missing voting machine cartridges in Philadelphia)
While the Democrats, who outnumber
Republicans in the City of Brotherly Love by a more than 6 -to-1
margin, easily re-nominated Mayor Michael A. Nutter, who faced
only token opposition in his primary, the two GOP candidates
for mayor are nervously awaiting the official outcome almost
a week after the last vote was cast.
City officials now say that
it won't be until some time later this week before the officials
results are known. They still have to tabulate an undetermined
number of Republican ballots in the estimated 1,675 absentee
and provisional ballots that remain to be counted.
The reasons for the delay are
numerous. On Wednesday afternoon there were some 65 cartridges
used in voting machines in polling places across the city that
still hadn't been delivered to the office of the City Commissioners,
as preposterous as that might seem.
By Thursday, 17 precincts still
remained to be counted. That was 48 hours after the election.
[FULL ARTICLE AT LINK]
Monroe County: Election
Notebook: Nail-biter in Middle Smithfield (long fingernails create pushbutton 'malfunction'
on Danaher 1242)
Some primary votes are as hard
as nails to come by.
Monroe County's voting machine
custodian, Wilbur Rodenhauser, was called to the Middle Smithfield
East voting district Tuesday night to investigate an alleged
A woman said she had pushed
the button for one East Stroudsburg School Board candidate, but
another candidate's name lit up as the vote recipient.
The problem, Rodenhauser determined,
was the voter's inch-long fingernails.
When she reached over to push
one candidate's button with her finger, her nail accidentally
touched the button for the wrong candidate. [MORE
Allegheny County: Leetsdale
Challengers Win Council Nominations
After a long day at the polls
and an even longer night battling with voting machines, Leetsdale
council votes are in.
As unofficial results started
appearing on the Allegheny County Election Division's website
about 9 p.m., the Leetsdale council votes were still at 0 percent.
Votes had to be manually pulled out of a machine used at Holy
Family Institute due to a malfunction, Dunn said. [MORE AT LINK]
Erie County: Problems minor
on primary day ("typical
problems" -- five iVotronics fail to start up, and 10 or
15 won't print zero tape)
Voting went smoothly today
in Erie County - for those who bothered to vote.
Doug Smith, Erie County clerk
of elections, reported only minor problems that are typical of
any primary or election.
Countywide, he said about five
touch-screen machines failed to start up before the polls opened.
They either were replaced with other machines, or polling places
had enough other machines already, he said.
And the printers were turned
on too early for about 10 to 15 other machines, which means a
tape that looks like a grocery receipt wouldn't print the numeral
0 that indicates no votes cast on that machine at the start of
the day, Smith said.
The machines themselves displayed
zero votes, but the tape provides physical proof. Election workers
called rovers were able to fix the problem and print the zeros
on the tapes, Smith said.
The issues didn't result in
voting delays, he said.
Not that voting precincts experienced
a surge of voters. Turnout was 15 percent in many places, Smith