Democratic ward leader Stephanie Singer has announced she’s taking on veteran Philadelphia City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione this spring for the post that runs city elections. Stephanie Singer says the three member city commission, also known as the board of election, is inefficient and riddled with political influence.Tartaglione, 77, has served as a commissioner since 1975.
Last month Tartaglione’s deputy, her daughter Renee, resigned after she was cited by the city Board of Ethics for illegal political activity.
“Elections should control politicians. Politicians should not control elections,” Singer said.
She announced her bid at the McVeigh recreation center in Harrowgate , which she said serves as the polling place for one of the lowest turnout voting divisions in the city.
She said the current city commission is guilty of “deliberate disenfranchisement” of voters. She promised to “be a crusader against corruption.”
She also said she would work to abolish the city commissioners as elected offices, “making sure that Philadelphia elections are in the hands of non-partisan professionals.”
Singer is anything but a typical ward leader. She’s a a Ph.D. in math who developed her own website to post detailed returns from past city elections.
“That’s something that in most counties, the county commissioners do,” Singer said, “and I had to threaten to sue them in order even just to get the data (to assemble the site).”
Singer said many politically-active Democrats are aware of her website, and she thinks it will earn her support among those who want clean, efficiently-run elections.
Reached by phone, Tartaglione declined to respond to Singer’s charges. But said she is running, and will have more to say soon.