Committee of Seventy slams City Commission for delaying meeting

Good government group the Committee of Seventy just sent a letter to the City Commissioners, attacking them for delaying this weeks meeting due to Hurricane Sandy.

We've pasted the letter below:

October 31, 2012

The Honorable Stephanie Singer

Chair, Philadelphia City Commissioners

City Hall, Room 130

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Dear Chairwoman Singer:

The Committee of Seventy is troubled by the postponement of the final pre-election public meeting of the City Commissioners until Friday, November 2 at 11 a.m.

To be frank, the delay is inexcusable. It creates a perception that your office is unwilling to share vital information with Philadelphians who are still waiting to know whether or not they will be able to vote on November 6. They deserve to hear directly from the City Commissioners, in a public meeting, where things stand and how existing problems will be resolved in time to ensure that every eligible voter can exercise their right to vote on Election Day.

Philadelphians with an uncertain voting status include those whose:

  • Voter registration applications have been received, but are not yet processed.
  • Voter registration applications have incomplete information that require corrections, some of which may still be in the pool of unprocessed applications.
  • Absentee ballot applications have been received, but are not yet processed.
  • Absentee ballot applications have not been received, but will be timely if received by 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 1.
  • Absentee ballots have not been mailed or have only been recently mailed, thereby jeopardizing the possibility of your office receiving them by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 2.

The election is six days away. While the voters understand storm-related problems, some of the concerns we mention existed long before this week. City voters must have confidence in the elections process, which includes how pre-election issues are handled. Your decision to postpone today’s meeting, and to keep many Philadelphians in the dark about their voting status, erodes that trust.

We urge you to convene a public meeting immediately or, at the very least, to issue a public statement with detailed information the voters can depend on.


Ellen Mattleman Kaplan

Vice President and Policy Director

cc: The Honorable Anthony Clark and Al Schmidt, City Commissioners

The Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia

The Honorable Darrell Clarke, President of City Council

City Controller Alan Butkovitz, City Controller