Strange special election today in North Philly

     Pennsylvania's 197th Legislative District in North Philadelphia. (<a href=The Legislative Guide to Redistricting in Pennsylvania) " title="Screen shot 2017-03-20 at 2.59.10 PM" width="640" height="360"/>

    Pennsylvania's 197th Legislative District in North Philadelphia. (The Legislative Guide to Redistricting in Pennsylvania)

    Voters in one North Philadelphia state House district will be electing a new representative Tuesday in a very strange special election.

    The last two representatives from the overwhelmingly Democratic 197th District, J.P. Miranda and Leslie Acosta, resigned after corruption convictions.

    The candidate Democratic leaders selected for this special election, Frederick Ramirez, was tossed from the ballot after a Commonwealth Court judge concluded he didn’t live in the district.

    That leaves Republican candidate Lucinda Little as the only candidate on the ballot, but that won’t assure her of victory.

    Democratic ward leaders are pushing one of their own, former Philadelphia Parking Authority employee Emilio Vasquez, in a write in campaign.

    Longtime activist Cheri Honkala is also a write-in candidate along with as many as three others, according to the website Philadelinquency.

    Running a write-in campaign isn’t easy. You have to identify potential supporters and explain how to cast a write-in vote on the machines, and then make sure they have the right spelling of your candidate’s name.

    Counting write-in votes can be tricky, too, so the results may not be known right away.

    We should know some time Wednesday night how many votes Republican candidate Little got, and how many voters chose the write-in option.

    If Little gets more than the number of write-ins, she’s an improbable winner, swiping a Democratic seat for the GOP.

    If the write-ins outnumber Little’s vote, we’ll have to wait for the city election board’s official canvass Friday to see how many voters wrote in which names.

    And it may not be clear even then. If the tally is close and there are different spellings or illegible write-ins that would make a difference, state officials will have to sort that out.

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