Saturday, April 25, 2015

Election day means dodgy sample ballots

Election day means dodgy sample ballots

Marcia Gelbart reports:

3:55 p.m.

 It wouldn't be Election Day in Philadelphia if some surprise sample ballots didn't pop up.

Finally, they have.

First, there's the "Vote the South Philly Team" ballot making its way around South Philadelphia. Who's the team? It consists of John McCain and Sarah Palin for president and vice president, and Lawrence Farnese Jr. - a Democrat - for Pennsylvania state senator in the 1st district.

The ballots don't state who printed them, making them illegal under state election rules. Some of the divisions where they were being distributed were in Ward 39A, run by ward leader Rosanne Pauciello - an ally of state Sen. Vincent Fumo, who is not an ally of Farnese.

"They were a surprise to us as well," said Farnese spokeswoman Sherylle Linton Jones, who said campaign aides stumbled up on the flyers as they visited polling places today. "We had nothing to do with it. We had no knowledge of it."

The second batch of sample ballots came under the heading "Official Democratic Ballot," and said they were paid for by the Democratic County Executive Committee of Philadelphia.

Listed beneath were the names of the Democratic candidates for various offices, from John Morganelli for state attorney general to Bob Brady for Congresss to Farnese for state Senate.
Nothing unusual there.

Just one thing was missing: The names of endorsed candidates for president and vice president. Instead of saying Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the space was left empty. Nada.

Brady, the chairman of the city's Democratic Party, was in a meeting and has not yet returned a call for comment.

Both ballots may be put out to appeal to residents in the area reluctant to vote for Obama.

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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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