Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Capozzi's Court Challenge Of Election Tossed By Judge

A Common Pleas Court judge today tossed a lawsuit filed by Barbara Capozzi last month to challenge the results of the May 17 Democratic primary election for the 2nd District City Council seat being vacated by Council President Anna Verna.

Capozzi's Court Challenge Of Election Tossed By Judge

An election challenge filed by Barbara Capozzi (right) has been thrown out of court, leaving state Rep. Kenyatta Johnson the winner of the May 17 primary.
An election challenge filed by Barbara Capozzi (right) has been thrown out of court, leaving state Rep. Kenyatta Johnson the winner of the May 17 primary.

A Common Pleas Court judge today tossed a lawsuit filed by Barbara Capozzi last month to challenge the results of the May 17 Democratic primary election for the 2nd District City Council seat being vacated by Council President Anna Verna. 

Judge Allan Tereshko said Capozzi's challenge asked him to ignore the votes cast for the winner, state Rep. Kenyatta Johnson, and "engage in serial speculation" about what might have happened if some poll workers had not covered up on the ballot the name of another candidate who had dropped out of the race.

Capozzi, a real-estate broker, finished 40 votes behind Johnson and later complained about "widespread irregularities," claiming the election results were compromised and had to be voided.  Damon Roberts, an attorney who ran for the seat in 2007, ran again this year but dropped out of the race on May 10.  That was too late to have his name removed from the ballot.  But some poll workers, acting on instructions from a Philadelphia City Commission employee, taped over his name on the ballot.  Roberts received 319 votes, which were not counted.

Tereshko wrote that Capozzi was arguing that "because more voters didn't 'throw away' their vote by voting for an ineligible candidate, somehow the validity of the election was compromised in such a way that it should be voided."

The case had been scheduled for a hearing next week but Tereshko ruled on a motion from Johnson, seeking to have it thrown out of court.

UPDATE, 5:20 pm: Capozzi just emailed to say she is "surprised and disappointed at the Judge’s ruling denying us any opportunity to make our case in Court. My lawyers believe that we had a strong set of provable facts that would have shown significant irregularities in the election. Our legal team will determine next steps."

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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