Archive: May, 2009
A public site providing election returns will be available tonight, according to the city. The address is: http://www.phillyelectionresults.com
Making the results available online for the public has been an ongoing saga. Activist Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg last year requested online access to local election returns. Previously, results were only available to city bigwigs and paying media on a password protected site.
A public site was set up for the November election, using $350,000 in federal funds. But federal funds are not available for the primary. And so two weeks ago, the City Commissioners -- who run elections and voter registration -- said they would not be able to provide returns on a public website for the primary because they could not afford the $30,000 in hosting fees.
We just got this release from watchdog group Committee of Seventy:
Here is what our volunteers are reporting as of 11:30 a.m.:
The most common problem (19 of the 54 complaints received) appears to be electioneering (active campaigning) at the polling places, notably by Judges of Election telling voters who to vote for (the Judges themselves are on the ballot), handing out literature or writing names on the sample ballots. Some of the reported campaigning is taking place inside polling places, which is prohibited, or too close to the polling places (no electioneering is allowed inside 10 feet of a polling place).
With District Attorney Lynne Abraham’s retirement at the end of this year, Philly will lose one of its highest ranking female elected officials. And as evidenced by the options at the polls today, she will not be replaced by a woman. Six men are vying to take over her job, five Democrats and one Republican.
In many ways, Philadelphia government still seems to be a boys club. To date, only one woman – former council member Happy Fernandez – has launched a serious major party campaign for mayor. In 2007, five candidates ran in the Democratic mayoral primary, all men.
Currently seven of the 17 members of City Council are women. And the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas Pamela Dembe is female. But otherwise the local political establishment is largely male. And there are few women rising in the political ranks to run for DA or mayor in the coming years.
Yes, this day is largely about the Democratic primaries. But there actually are Republican candidates in the District Attorney and Controller races, so we thought we'd at least mention them.
So here you have it folks, the GOP offerings today. Since there's only one in each race, these two will be competing against the Democratic winner of their catagory in the general election.
District Attorney: Michael Untermeyer. Untermeyer, 58, is a former assisstant district attorney and state deputy attorney general. He ran an unsuccessful race two years ago in the Democratic primary against Sheriff John Green. Untermeyer has pledged tougher sentences for gun crimes. Check out a Philadelphia Inquirer profile here.
On the Democratic side we have a three-way battle for controller today. Incumbent Alan Butkovitz is being challenged by two opponents -- former Common Pleas Judge John Braxton and Brett Mandel, who served as an analyst under former controller Jonathan Saidel. Here's a little more about the candidates.
Alan Butkovitz: A former state representative, Butkovitz, 57, was elected Controller in 2005. Endorsed by Mayor Nutter and Democratic City Committee, he says he's made the office more responsive to citizen concerns.
Brett Mandel: A tax-reform advocate and all around good government type, Mandel, 39, says he will more aggressively audit every city department. He accuses Butkovitz of focusing more on building his political base than completing required audits. He's received the endorsement of both the Daily News and Inquirer.
Controller and DA candidates make dash for finish line.
Where to vote and what to do if you have problems at the polls.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority gets federal approval to sell abandoned properties.
Five Democratic candidates have been duking it out to become the next Philadelphia District Attorney, looking to replace Lynne Abraham, who was first elected to the job in 1991. Here's a speedy PhillyClout look at the men battling for the job.
Brian Grady: This 40-year-old criminal defense lawyer is an affable guy who says his practise gives him insights into all aspects of the criminal justice system. But he is still dogged by the day 12 years ago when he punched out a defense attorney in front of a Common Pleas Judge. Check out his Daily News profile.
Dan McElhatton: Best known for serving a single term on City Council, McElhatton, 59, thinks his experience serving in elected office would serve him well in the job. He lost his re-election campaign after supporting a "liquor-by-the-drink tax." Late last week, he received the endorsement of a former friend on City Council, Mayor Nutter. He also earned the DN endorsement. Check out his Daily News profile.
Primary Election Day is here folks. Turnout is expected to be light, but two key positions are on the ballot -- the District Attorney and City Controller.
If you have any trouble at the polls, the Committee of Seventy is manning a hotline for complaints. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.