Sunday, July 13, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Ballot Bafflement

The sample ballots circulated by ward leaders in all Philadelphia elections seem to be confusing some voters this time around. These aren't official ballots in any way, just a list of the candidates who've been endorsed by your local Democratic ward leader.

Ballot Bafflement

Patrick Kerkstra reports:

The sample ballots circulated by ward leaders in all Philadelphia elections seem to be confusing some voters this time around. These aren't official ballots in any way, just a list of the candidates who've been endorsed by your local Democratic ward leader. In some cases, ward leaders are urging local residents to vote for Obama for president but to choose Clinton representatives to be delegates to the Democratic National Convention. This is just so much insider maneuvering: a ward boss might prefer Obama, but still wants to see a political ally who backs Clinton get the chance to attend the convention. The only vote that counts in the presidential contest is the one at the top of the ballot. Voting for Clinton delegates or Obama delegates won't impact who wins the state.

Muddling the picture still further is the fact that some of these sample ballots appear to be getting distributed in the wrong wards. In other words, you could be getting the recommendations of a ward leader from another part of town.

There's one sure way to cut through the confusion: exercise your own judgment and leave the sample ballot at home.

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Thomas FitzgeraldThomas Fitzgerald joined The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000, and has covered Harrisburg as well as city, state and national politics for the newspaper. He was a “boy on the bus” in the 2004 presidential campaign and during primary contests in 2000 and 1996.

Nathan Gorenstein has covered politics and government in the city, state and nation for the Inquirer. He's worked in the city hall bureau, had a stint on the business desk, and once covered the suburbs. After serving as assistant regional editor, he was named editor of the "Politics" web site.

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