Friday, January 30, 2015

Nutter launches probe into Election Day problems

Mayor Nutter on Friday announced the creation of a six-member "fact-finding" team to examine voting problems in Philadelphia in this year's presidential election.

Nutter launches probe into Election Day problems

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter speaks to the media outside of the White House, after Vice President Biden met with mayors from cities across the country to talk about taxes and the economy, in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter speaks to the media outside of the White House, after Vice President Biden met with mayors from cities across the country to talk about taxes and the economy, in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Mayor Nutter on Friday announced the creation of a six-member “fact-finding” team to examine voting problems in Philadelphia in this year’s presidential election.

Voting irregularities, which led to an increase in the number of voters who were forced to cast provisional ballots, created “a dark cloud over what should have been … one of the most exciting elections in the history of the United States of America,” Nutter said.

The team will be led by city Managing Director Rich Negrin. The other members are: Hope Caldwell, deputy to the city chief integrity officer; Jordan Schwartz, who works for the mayor’s chief of staff; Terry Gillen, the city’s liaison with the federal government; Pastor Kevin Johnson, of Bright Hope Baptist Church; and Nicole Harrington, a deputy in the Inspector General’s Office.

The fact finders, Nutter said, will look into “the accuracy and integrity of our voter-roll system,” the training standards for poll workers, “Election Day communication and coordination” and other issues.

The three city commissioners, who oversaw the election, released a report this week that found that a majority of voters who cast provisional ballots were properly registered in Philadelphia. About two-thirds of those people showed up at the wrong polling locations – many of which have moved since the last presidential election.

Nutter criticized the commissioners after the election but backed away from that talk on Friday, saying they had pledged to cooperate with his probe.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz had previously announced he is conducting an investigation of the election. The Mayor’s Office on Friday said the probe could present a conflict of interests because he is running for re-election in 2013.

“Given that Mr. Butkovitz is up for re-election, the mayor feels it is inappropriate for the controller to be engaged in an inquiry into the officials who are overseeing that election,” said mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald.

Butkovitz said the statement “doesn’t make any sense” because he is “responsible for auditing all city departments all of the time.”

“The problems with this election are of such significance that I think it’s a good idea for as many eyes as possible to take a look at that and get to the bottom of it,” he said.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@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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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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