Thin voter turnout in three special elections in Philadelphia area

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 Seth Edelman poses for a photo outside a polling place in the Art Museum area. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Seth Edelman poses for a photo outside a polling place in the Art Museum area. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Special elections are taking place Tuesday for three seats in the Pennsylvania Legislature.  

The Maytag repairman wasn’t as lonely as some of the poll workers waiting for voters.

Ricki Andeer was one of the rare voters who showed up at a polling place in the Art Museum area to cast a ballot. 

“Dead as a doornail in there, way outvoted by the staff,” Andeer said.  “I figured this is going to be a very undemocratic process.  I mentioned it at yoga, and everyone looked at me like I had grown a new head, so I didn’t think it was a very good sign.”

After exercising his constitutional right, Seth Edelman offered this advice: “If you don’t vote, don’t ever complain.”

These are the kind of elections that hinge on every vote, and people need to come to the polls and cast a ballot, said Yolanda Middleton.

“I’ve been voting for 54 years, and as a black Southern woman, that is an incredible right,” she said.  “So if they don’t vote, don’t complain when things don’t go their way.”

Doug Gordon voted just before lunchtime.

“I didn’t learn about the election myself until yesterday. I read about it online yesterday, so I came over this morning,” he said.  “I like to vote every time, even if I don’t quite know what I’m voting for.”

Democrats are the heavy favorites, since the city voter registration edge is almost insurmountable.

Two of the three special elections are to fill seats left vacant because of a corruption sting.  Former state Reps. Ronald Waters (a Democrat whose district covers parts of Southwest Philadelphia and Darby in Delaware County) and Michelle Brownlee (a Democrat whose district covers parts of North and West Philadelphia) were forced to resign after pleading guilty to conflict of interest charges.  Both Waters and Brownlee were accused of taking bribes from a confidential informant.  

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