Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Election round-up

Full results of the primaries (not including ward committee races) can be found here. These are the top stories of the morning, to me at least:
  • The two heads of the State Senate, Republicans Jubelirer and Brightbill, were both defeated by their primary opponents, after challenges fueled largely by pay-hike anger and related issues. Unfortunately, the winners were backed by the Club for Growth, which lies on the far right edge of conservative politics. Speculations abound, however, that this will open the field to Democratic challengers in the general election, who might have been afraid to take on top leadership but will be emboldened by the newbies carrying the GOP flag. Stay tuned! (In related news, John Baer now believes that anything is possible...)

  • There were widespread problems with voting machines malfunctioning, which led to the casting of hundreds of provisional ballots in the affected divisions. Because such ballots will take time to verify and process, some close races may not have final numbers for weeks! [More here.]

  • It appears that some "insiders" were able to fight the anti-incumbent fervor and eke out a win. Those include Babette Josephs (although her race is one of the ones involving divisions with provisional ballots), who had a margin of around 200 votes at the end of the night; Michael O'Brien (the 175th is also not final, although the DN calls it), who appears to have beat progressives Anne Dicker and Terry Graboyes by a margin of 39% to 32% to 29%, empowering Dougherty and dismaying many; and, most surprisingly, Tony Payton, the lone candidate on the ballot in the 179th, may have been narrowly defeated by a write-in campaign for the machine candidate, Emilio Vazquez -- there's some discussion of impropriety surrounding this race (did pollworkers hand out stamps with Vazquez's name on them?), and write-ins don't get dealt with until the certification process on Friday (which also deals with absentee ballots and provisional votes), so the outcome will not be known for a few days yet.

  • Voters endorsed the formation of an Ethics Board by a 4-to-1 ratio, continuing the push to clean up the political system in Philadelphia. The surveillance measure also passed, after a telephone push by Street that raised a few eyebrows. Despite the fact that this latter measure is just permission to consider the idea, headlines are trumpeting "voters ok cameras" and the like...


Anonymous phillydem said...

Chris Bowers and Kevin Scott also used stamps in their successful write-in campaign for state Dem committee. So if you want to toss Vasquez "stamped ins", you'd have to toss theirs, too.

1:04 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

No -- the irregularity isn't the use of stamps, it's the handing out by pollworkers. Anybody within the actual polling place is strictly forbidden from any sort of campaigning or anything that favors or suggests any of the candidates over the others. Certainly, giving voters a stamp for a write-in candidate would be an extreme violation of that rule, if such occured.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

You are correct that no one can campaign inside the polls. If there was campaigning inside the poll, then Payton or his people should have called the election commission and reported it, they would have sent out someone to investigate. Otherwise, I'm not exactly sure how one would go about handing a stamp out and getting it back after the voter used it.

As a former election judge, I would say that if a write-in candidate left stamps at the table and told voters entering the poll they were available for use in writing in candidate's name, that would not constitute "campaigning" in the poll (any more than handing a voter a sample ballot or instructions on how to do a write-in does), but might well result in "poll workers handing out stamps" if the voter asked for one.

1:29 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

interesting scenario. you could well be right. what I don't know is how many poll-watchers were present in this race, since Payton might well have thought that being alone on the ballot was enough (heh). one couldn't tell from the early stories whether challenges were in fact made yesterday, or whether it's just hand-waving today, but I suspect that there's a phalanx of pols and lawyers hovering over the whole thing now.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous phillyde said...

I don't know. I know I ran a clean poll and so did the other judges of the other divisions in the polls with us, but I can't speak for every judge at every poll.

As you've pointed out Gar Joseph's column isn't entirely clear about what happened or what he exactly he was referring to by the phrase "that's illegal".

That said, I don't know how hard Payton worked, but maybe he took it for granted it would be hard for a write-in candidate to beat him and didn't do the necessary pre-election prep work like Bowers did, for ex.

2:00 PM  

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