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Pa. Superior Court election results: Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane win open seats
By Katie Meyer, Spotlight PA • Nov. 8, 2023 11:37 am
Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane have defeated Republicans Maria Battista and Harry Smail for two open seats on Pennsylvania’s Superior Court.
The Associated Press called the race for Beck at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, and for Lane the next morning at 10:40 a.m. Unofficial results show Beck with 28% of the vote and Lane with 25%.
Two sitting judges on Superior Court — Jack Panella and Vic Stabile — also have comfortable margins in favor of their yes-or-no retention elections, though the AP hasn’t formally called those elections. If their victories hold, they will begin additional ten-year terms.
Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker’s victory in Tuesday’s election was historic. She’s the first woman and first Black woman to ever win the Philadelphia’s highest elected position, and is riding into office on a tide of goodwill.
“My life is a textbook on how to turn pain into power,” Parker said at her victory party, thanking the “village” that helped her rise from humble beginnings to the top spot in Philly politics.
When she assumes office in January, things won’t be easy.
For the first time in modern history, Philadelphia City Council will have no at-large Republican lawmakers.
Two of the seven at-large seats on council are effectively reserved for non-Democrats. Starting in January, those posts will be held by candidates with the progressive Working Families Party — incumbent Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke, a pastor and political organizer.
The pair beat out Republicans Drew Murray, a former Democrat who chairs the Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition, and businessman Jim Hasher.
“We just left the Republican Party to the dustbin of history by running on a positive vision for Philadelphia,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “Philly can be a city where everybody can get a good job, send their kids to a good school, and feel safe in their neighborhoods. Kendra and I are ready to fight for a city where everyone can thrive, not just the powerful or the privileged.”
Brooks and O’Rourke will join five Democrats to form the body’s group of at-large lawmakers, as well as 10 district council members.
The Election Day referendum came after 250 residents petitioned the city to place the decision in the hands of constituents. The petitioners feared the investor-owned utility would raise rates in the town, which has a median household income of $26,000.
But on Tuesday, 60% of voters decided American Water is better equipped to provide clean drinking water than the municipality.
“Water and sewer is all we do, and we are deeply committed to making the necessary improvements so that Salem City residents can have the same clean, safe, reliable and affordable water and sewer service that they deserve, and that the other 190 communities we serve receive,” said New Jersey American Water President Mark McDononouh in a statement. “We look forward to getting started and delivering upon the commitments we made.”
Salem City said it needed to sell its water system because it faces an $11 million debt and a deficit in its water and sewer department.
It said it also needs help cleaning up toxic PFAS chemicals.
American Water expects the sale will close in June 2024. The company said its priority would be to design and implement a filtration system for PFAS.
Sara Innamorato elected Allegheny County Executive, defeating Joe Rockey
About 15 Republican committee members and supporters quietly dined on a buffet of meatball sandwiches, potato salad, and chocolate cake at Cannstatter, a German American social club in Northeast Philadelphia on Tuesday night as a DJ spun classic pop hits from a corner stage.
They were waiting to see how the two GOP candidates for at-large council seats would fare, and if Republican City Councilmember Brian O’Neill would survive a well-funded challenge by union leader Gary Masino to win a record 12th term.
While Masino campaigned on the argument that O’Neill has served for too long, Republican party chair Vince Fenerty said the councilmember’s big early lead in the vote results showed that message hadn’t resonated with voters.
“The people in the 10th councilmanic district are not stupid,” Fenerty said. “You have a veteran with 44 years and you want to put an amateur in? It’s like hiring a minor leaguer. Even more than that, it’s like a grammar school baseball player against a major leaguer.”
Fenerty also predicted victory for candidates Jim Hasher and Drew Murray in the at-large race. But as they fell behind their Working Families Party rivals, some of those at Cannstatter said they were seeing the effects of weak turnout in critical Republican-leaning wards and the party’s failure to encourage more mail-in voting.
Hasher watched the returns about a mile away at Jimmy’s Timeout, the sports pub he owns. A boisterous crowd of drinkers surrounded the bar as Hasher huddled with Councilmember Mike Driscoll and a few other supporters in another room.
“The Republican Party has just educated themselves that they have to get serious about mail-in ballots and make sure they get ahead of it,” Hasher said. “We need to get better at it and, especially going into a presidential race, we’re going to have to make sure that we make this a priority.”
Philly voters say yes to Office for People with Disabilities
Mayor Kenney created the office in 2017 through an executive order, which made it vulnerable to future repeal.
The office houses two arms — the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, which focuses on advocating for people with disabilities and connecting them with resources, and the Office of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliance, which ensures equal access to employment, housing, health care, and public services, and responds to discrimination complaints.
The ballot question — the only one of today’s election — was approved by almost 86 percent of voters.
In 2022, the office launched its Disability Characteristics Map, an interactive map that shows the geographic distribution of people with disabilities according to census tract, including details on their specific disability and demographics.
Democrats keep complete control of Delaware County Council
Four years ago, Democrats made history in Chester County when they scored their first majority on the Board of Commissioners.
Incumbent Democratic Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell pulled off the feat again Tuesday night, defeating the Republican ticket and winning their re-election bid.
Moskowitz, a local business owner and real estate developer, and Maxwell, the former mayor of Phoenixville, faced an uphill battle after being sworn in as commissioners in 2020, during a global pandemic.
Because the Chester County Board of Commissioners requires minority party representation, the top vote-getter on the Republican ticket, Eric Roe won the remaining seat on the three-person board. His running mate, David Sommers, did not secure enough votes.
Gene DiGirolamo, the lone incumbent Republican commissioner on the three-person board, is on track to keep his seat, but that could change as more votes are counted through the night.
A former longtime state representative in the 18th District, DiGirolamo, ran on a platform focusing on addiction treatment and public safety. Because the board requires minority party representation, he has been able to leave a mark on the county’s programs and initiatives.
His running mate, county controller Pamela Van Blunk, failed to secure enough votes for the party to regain their decades-long hold over the Bucks County Board of Commissioners.
Harvie and Marseglia built on changing demographics and their platform, which centered on improvement of human services and a responsive local government, resonated well with voters.
Democrat Ed Brown has defeated Republican Brian Burke in Upper Darby’s mayoral race, becoming the first Black mayor of Pennsylvania’s eighth largest municipality.
In May’s mayoral primary, Brown, the current president of the Upper Darby School District Board of Directors, handily defeated Laura Wentz, the Democratic vice president of township council.
Buoyed by a unanimous endorsement from the Upper Darby Democratic Committee and a formal five-point plan to steer the township to his idea of success, Brown managed to defeat Burke, the sitting president of township council. His platform focused on improving municipal services, bolstering the business sector, and supporting affordable housing, resonated with residents.
Pa. Commonwealth Court election results: Democrat Matt Wolf beats Republican Megan Martin
By Stephen Caruso of Spotlight PA • Nov. 8, 2023 12:08 am
Democrat Matt Wolf, a Philadelphia municipal judge, will fill an open seat on Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court.
The Associated Press called the race at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Unofficial results show Wolf with 53% of the vote and Republican Megan Martin, a former legislative official, with 47%.
Commonwealth Court is the first stop for civil actions brought against state and local governments and regulatory agencies. It regularly hears high-profile cases on important political issues such as election law, redistricting, and abortion.
Around 11:20 p.m., Philly’s chapter of the Working Families Party declared victory for both its candidates, announcing the reelection of Councilmember Kendra Brooks and the election of Nicolas O’Rourke. Although official results are still being counted, pandemonium ensued, with Roar Nightclub’s dance floor filling to the brim in celebration.
The crowd of friends, family, and supporters assembled, capping off a monthslong campaign in ecstasy.
The WFP aimed to lay claim to both Council seats reserved for minority parties — traditionally, a space inhabited by Philly’s GOP — and succeeded with a robust coalition that included the state’s governor and junior senator.
Despite a fiercely contentious campaign-long spat with the city’s Democratic Party, major players in the city’s main political party still turned out, including state Representatives Rick Krajewski, Liz Fiedler, and Chris Rabb. Building Trades Council President Ryan Boyer and City Commissioner Omar Sabir could also be seen at the WFP celebration.
Maggie Hart, an adviser on Brooks’ campaign and her former communications director, pointed to next year’s presidential election as a reason to bury any hatchets between local Dems and the WFP.
“We should all be on the same side,” said Hart.
“When [Bob Brady’s] ready to collaborate, we’ll be ready to collaborate.”
Republican David Oh concedes race for Philly mayor
Republican David Oh has conceded the race for mayor of Philadelphia.
The former City Council member, who resigned to run for mayor during his third term, congratulated Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker and thanked supporters and family for having a “better vision” for the city.
“Don’t be afraid to lose,” he said. “Be afraid not to try.”
By 11 p.m., 80% of the votes had been counted. Parker won more than 73% of the vote, with Oh trailing at 26%.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in Philly nearly seven-to-one. A Republican has not won the city’s mayoral race in more than seven decades.
Oh was the first Asian American elected to Philadelphia City Council in 2011, and would have been the city’s first Asian American mayor.
He said he hasn’t planned his next steps.
“It’ll give me a chance to rest, relax, and spend a little more time with the family,” he said.
Democratic incumbents coast to victory in City Council races
All of the Democratic incumbents on City Council coasted to victory on Tuesday, including Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, one of two district council members with an opponent.
Gauthier, a Democrat, soundly defeated third-party candidate Jabari Jones in West Philadelphia’s 3rd District.
Rejoining Gauthier on City Council are district Councilmembers Mark Squilla, Kenyatta Johnson, Curtis Jones Jr., Micahel Driscoll, Quetcy Lozada, Cindy Bass, and Anthony Phillips.
Jeffrey Young, who ran unopposed in the 5th District, will replace outgoing Council President Darrell Clark, who did not seek reelection after leading the legislative body for 12 years.
At-large Councilmembers Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Isaiah Thomas, Jim Harrity were all re-elected. They will be joined by at-large Democrats Rue Landau and Nina Ahmad, who will both be new to Council.
By Kate Huangpu of Spotlight PA • Nov. 7, 2023 11:27 pm
Democrat Daniel McCaffery defeated Republican Carolyn Carluccio to win a spot on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ending a high-stakes race marked by attack ads and record-breaking spending that totaled tens of millions of dollars.
The Associated Press called the race for McCaffery just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Unofficial results show McCaffery with 53% of the vote to Carluccio’s 47%.
With this victory, Democrats have added to their majority on the seven-member court. The vacancy on the Nov. 7 ballot was created when former Chief Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, died last fall.
New Jersey Democrats on Tuesday held on to a heavily contested state Senate district, with incumbent Vin Gopal winning a third term, and flipped an Assembly seat from GOP control in a heavily Republican area.
Gopal defeated Republican Steve Dnistrian in the 11th Legislative District in Monmouth County. His victory means Democrats successfully fended off a challenger in an increasingly moderate district. In Ocean County’s 30th District, Rabbi Avi Schnall defeated GOP incumbent Assemblyman Edward Thomson.
“I think voters are tired of the political bickering,” Gopal said Tuesday before his victory. “They want people to bring them together. There needs to be discussion and debate and decorum back in government.”
That campaign was among the most heavily contested this year, and saw more political spending than any other race, according to October figures from the state’s campaign finance watchdog.
Other races were too early to call, but the Democratic victories buoyed Democrats.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy enthused that Gopal was “an extraordinary” colleague in the state Senate.
Gopal and Democrats aimed to keep the campaign centered on Democrats’ efforts over the last year to provide property tax rebates. The Democrats also focused heavily on abortion, arguing that a GOP-led Legislature could begin to roll back abortion protections in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In an interview earlier this year, Dnistrian said a top issue he heard from voters was concern that parents didn’t have enough control over school districts. The issue made headlines when the state attorney general sued three Monmouth County school districts, charging they violated the state’s anti-discrimination law with policies that called on officials to notify parents if their children had come out as transgender. State school guidelines and a 2017 law call for keeping a student’s orientation confidential.
All 80 seats in the Assembly and all 40 in the Senate were up for grabs, with the Democrats controlling both chambers.
Murphy, a Democrat who was not on the ballot but whose second-term agenda will depend in part on the makeup of the Legislature, held a number of get-out-the-vote events Tuesday. At an event in vote-rich Bergen County in suburban New York City, Murphy underscored his administration’s and Democrats’ role in protecting abortion rights.
The state Republican Party urged people not to skip voting because it could mean Democrats retain power in the Legislature.
Democrats hold a 25-15 seat advantage in the Senate and a 46-34 edge in the Assembly.
New Jersey’s Legislature has 40 total districts, with each sending one senator and two Assembly members to Trenton. Both parties typically run all three candidates together on a ticket. The 11th District was among the most closely watched in part because where Democrats control the Senate seat and the GOP controls the two Assembly spots.
Voting started in late September when the first mail-in ballots went out. The state also offered early in-person voting.
State figures showed some half a million ballots had already been cast before Election Day, including votes by mail and early in-person voting. Still, the majority of ballots in New Jersey are typically cast on Election Day.
Democrats Jamila Winder and Neil Makhija win Montgomery County Board of Commissioners race
Following a crowded primary election, Democrats Jamila Winder and Neil Makhija have won the race for the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
With votes still left to count, it is unclear which Republican candidate will take the final spot.
With their respective wins, Winder becomes the first Black woman formally elected to the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and Makhija becomes the first Asian American elected to any county board of commissioner in Pennsylvania.
Winder is the closest the Democrats had to a traditional incumbent candidate. The former East Norriton Township supervisor was appointed to the county board in February following the departure of Democratic Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh.
She emerged victorious from a packed field of primary candidates alongside Makhija, a University of Pennsylvania election law professor and leader of Impact, a national civics organization.
Democrats will retain majority control over the three-person county board.
“I have three simple and powerful words for you: We did it,” Landau said during her Tuesday night election watch party at Cockatoo in the Gayborhood.
During her speech, Landau thanked multiple LGBTQ council members who were closeted while in office, including John C. Anderson and Ethel Allen.
“They remind us of the progress we’ve made and the work that remains,” Landau said. “I thank you and know that you’re watching right now and to one of my dearest friends and personal heroes and mentors, I wish so much I could share this moment, Gloria Casarez… You’re as much a part of tonight as any of us.”
During the city council at large primary, Landau emerged as the third-highest vote-getter and placed higher than an incumbent.
Landau received many endorsements during her campaign, including from the Philadelphia Democrats, Working Families Party, and Councilmembers Brooks, Gauthier, Johnson, Jones Jr., and Squilla.
Five Philadelphia City Council at-large election results called
Philadelphians rooting for both Working Families Party candidates are watching results flow in from Roar Nightclub in Northern Liberties.
Philly’s WFP chapter is aiming to take both of the seats on City Council that are reserved for minority parties after WFP Councilmember Kendra Brooks broke the Republican Party’s hold on the reserved spots in 2019. Brooks is running for a second term, while Nicolas O’Rourke, a local pastor, hopes to join her in his second Council run.
Friends, family, WFP staffers, and local elected officials like District Attorney Larry Krasner and State Representative Chris Rabb are filling up the venue, where a cheerful mood — soundtracked by R&B from the ‘90s to today — prevails.
Robert Saleem Holbrook, executive director of Straight Ahead, the Abolitionist Law Center’s political arm, pointed to the WFP’s willingness to work with formerly incarcerated people and other typically overlooked groups as a key reason he aligns with and supports their campaigns.
Holbrook said that collaborations with the WFP are offering those marginalized by the mainstream parties “not only a voice at the table but actually giving us the ability to build our own table.”
Mayor Kenney congratulates Mayor-Elect Cherelle Parker
Mayor Jim Kenney has congratulated Mayor-Elect Cherelle Parker, who defeated Republican David Oh tonight to become Philadelphia’s 100th mayor, and the first woman and first Black woman to hold the office.
“Congratulations to mayor-elect Cherelle Parker on this historic milestone in her extraordinary career of public service,” Kenney said in an emailed statement. “I am proud to call Cherelle a friend and a colleague, and I look forward to working with her to ensure a smooth and successful transition that keeps our city’s progress on track.”
“I think she has the best opportunity to move the city forward. She knows more than anyone else on that ticket about the city government,” Kenney said in May. “I think she has the ability to lead the city forward and honestly I think it’s time for a woman of color, a Black woman who helped me along with Marian Tasco, Gussie Clark, and others. She deserves my vote.”
While Kenney stayed mum, former mayors Ed Rendell, John Street, and Michael Nutter endorsed Democratic candidate Rebecca Rhynhart ahead of the primary.
Kenney, who has held office since 2016, also thanked the city commissioners, public safety officers, and all other election workers and volunteers for ensuring “another safe, free, and fair election in our city.”
Republican candidate for mayor of Philadelphia David Oh hugged and shook hands with supporters during an election night watch party in Northeast Philly, after the AP had called the race for Democrat Cherelle Parker.
“We’ll see how the results come in,” he said. “I’ve been around this block a few times and so I know we can never know until a certain period of time.”
By 9:30 p.m., a third of the votes had been counted. Parker led with roughly 75% of the vote, and Oh trailed at 25%.
Oh told supporters to enjoy their time together.
“Whatever happens, we gave it … all we can give,” he said. “We’ve done a great job. We put forth good ideas, many of those got adopted.”
He promised to address the crowd again “when the time comes.”
‘Power of mentorship’ highlighted during Parker victory party as Philadelphia elects first Black female mayor
First-term Democratic Councilmember Stefan Roots is declaring victory as the new mayor of the bankrupt city of Chester.
Roots cited a significant lead over independent Anita J. Littleton in mail-in ballots and said he expects to succeed incumbent Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland to lead the city’s highest office.
Roots, a self-described political outsider, has quickly ascended in city politics as the foil to Kirkland and the Democratic machine.
Three decades ago, Pennsylvania declared the city of Chester to be financially distressed. Polluting industries and poverty continued to plague its residents and businesses. In 2022, the city finally filed for bankruptcy and sought federal intervention.
All of them had competing visions of leading the city out of bankruptcy. Roots, who currently works in operations and engineering at the Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA), previously told WHYY News that he never intended to become a politician.
The city’s financial issues, trash problems, and environmental justice crises fueled his political willpower. Roots managed to crush his contenders despite failing to receive an endorsement from the Chester Democratic Committee.
With no Republican challenger in the general election, Roots squared off against independent Littleton.
Littleton, a 25-year resident of Chester, has a background in computer information technology and ministry leadership — but her campaign was not able to gather enough momentum.
If his lead holds, Roots will work directly with the state-appointed receiver in hopes of rescuing the city from its financial woes.
Cherelle Parker makes history: Philly elects first Black woman mayor
Her defeat of Republican opponent former City Councilman David Oh Tuesday was hardly a surprise, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans in Philadelphia 7-to-1. Parker succeeds fellow Democrat and outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney, who is term-limited.
Parker served five terms in Harrisburg as a state representative, with part of that time as the leader of the Philadelphia delegation. In 2015, after her mentor Marion Tasco retired from Philadelphia City Council, Parker was elected to her seat and later became the majority leader in 2020. Since February 2021, Parker has served as chair of the Delaware River Port Authority.
Outside of the Upper Darby Municipal Library, Brown seemed confident he would defeat challenger Republican Brian Burke. He said the voters he’s spoken to had one major concern.
“Safety is a big one. It aligns with what my primary focus is as becoming mayor,” Brown said. “It’ll be to make sure our community is safe in our homes and our workplace and our community. Safety is Paramount.”
In Chester, Democratic mayoral candidate Stefan Roots was already prepping for victory over independent Anita J. Littleton at his election headquarters.
“Very confident. We were quite surprised that somebody would even put their hat in a ring to challenge us, but they did so we had to be up for the challenge,” Roots said. “And here we are ready to take victory tonight.”
A Philadelphia County judge has ordered the confiscation of potentially fraudulent sample ballot flyers at polling places in the 3rd council district.
The sample ballot papers in question were made to look like “the Official Democratic City Committee Ballot” with the party’s endorsed candidates for mayor, council seats, county judges, and other city races.
The doctored ballot papers incorrectly listed third-party candidate Jabari Jones as the committee’s endorsed candidate for the 3rd district council seat, instead of incumbent Jamie Gauthier.
The disputed ballots were distributed to voters at the Add B. Anderson School in West Philly on Tuesday.
In Radnor Ward 2, Precincts 1 & 3 in Delaware County, the polling place has moved to Radnor Elementary School and will be open until 9 p.m. due to a court order, after a reported bomb threat at Radnor High School led to an evacuation of two polling stations. Voters in line by 9:00 p.m. at Radnor Elementary will be able to vote.
In New Jersey, candidates are vying for state Senate and General Assembly seats.
Residents are being asked to avoid Radnor High School in Delaware County due to police activity.
Officials say the school was evacuated Tuesday night, including the polling places located inside.
Officers with the Radnor Township Police Department say no injuries are reported at the scene.
Due to the evacuation, Delaware County officials say polling places for two precincts — Radnor Ward 2, Precinct 1 and Radnor Ward 2, Precinct 3 — have relocated to Radnor Elementary in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
Additionally, Delaware County Elections will file in court to seek an extension of voting for voters in those two precincts through 9 p.m.
Relocated precincts will be open by roughly 7:15 p.m.
No further information has been released at this time.
Turnout for this year’s elections in Philadelphia will only be about a third of what it would be during a presidential election year, said Dan Hopkins, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania.
“In a mayoral year like this one, we are more likely to see the frequent chronic voters, as compared to a presidential election, which often will bring out more of the … occasional voters,” he said. “This will be an election where, even if you look at registered voters, [turnout] will be well south of half of all registered voters voting today.”
He also expected that turnout would seem slow at polling locations because of the recent rise of people voting by mail.
He said more people voted by mail during the 2020 election year compared to past years; and last year, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court upheld a law allowing all voters to vote by mail. Together, he said those developments changed how people vote, meaning that city commissioners have already received tens of thousands of mail ballots, which could account for as much as a third of all votes cast.
When to expect results, how officials are preparing, and more
By Katie Meyer, Spotlight PA • Nov. 7, 2023 5:34 pm
Officials and experts in Pennsylvania are confident that new technology and growing familiarity with mail ballots among poll workers will make for smooth sailing during the upcoming Nov. 7 election.
On the ballot are critical appellate court races as well as ones for county-level and municipal positions. Odd-year elections like this one tend to see lower turnout. That makes the odds of long polling place lines and overloaded, sluggish ballot counting much lower.
A coding error in an eastern Pennsylvania county caused votes to be flipped on a ballot question that asked whether a pair of incumbent state appeals judges should be retained, officials said Tuesday.
Voters were asked to decide whether Pennsylvania Superior Court Judges Jack Panella and Victor Stabile should be retained for additional 10-year terms. The “yes” or “no” votes for each judge were being switched because of the error, said Lamont McClure, the Northampton County executive. If a voter marked “yes” to retain Panella and “no” on Stabile, for example, it was reflected as “no” on Panella and “yes” on Stabile.
McClure said voters first noticed the error on the printed voting records produced by the touchscreen machines.
The issue affected all the county’s voting machines in use Tuesday, which McClure estimated at more than 300. The Pennsylvania Department of State said the problem was isolated to the two retention votes in Northampton County and that no other races statewide were affected.
Salem City faces an $11 million debt and a deficit in its water and sewer department. Officials say they have no choice but to sell their water to New Jersey American Water.
They say they also need help cleaning up toxic PFAS chemicals.
Those in favor say the investor-owned utility has the resources and expertise to offer cleaner water.
“We haven’t had decent water here in years, and I think it’s time we got some professionals in here who know how to do this,” said voter Charles Duty. “I don’t think the people here have the qualifications to run a modern water plant.”
But some voters fear the company will raise rates in this majority low-income town. Studies show that investor-owned utility rates are typically higher than municipal rates.
“I hope we don’t sell it,” said voter Harron Jefferies.
Jody Jones also voted against the measure. She believes a better option is to vote in new city officials to make better financing decisions.
“Its time to get rid of the old and bring in the new,” Jones said.
But voters such as Preston Jones say the $18 million sale could help the city focus its efforts on making improvements, such as addressing vacant buildings.
“We need the money that’s going to come from selling the water so we can put those funds into other things the city needs,” he said. “Also, if we don’t have the funds to fix problems going on with the water it makes sends to sell it to someone who does.”
If enough voters agree, American Water expects the sale will close in June 2024. The company said its priority would be to design and implement a filtration system for PFAS.
More than 123,000 people have voted in person in Philadelphia so far this Election Day, according to Sixty-Six Wards’ Turnout Tracker.
That figure is based on 127 voter numbers shared with the data-analyzing blog from across 32 wards. The tracker looks at correlations that have existed historically between divisions to estimate city-wide turnout, voting patterns, and how divisions perform.
As of 2:40 p.m., the tracker listed the 8th Ward as having the highest in-person turnout at 4,880 voters, with 6,254 mail ballots requested and 3,879 returned. The 5th Ward followed with 4,743 in-person voters.
The 21st Ward, which saw the highest in-person turnout for the 2019 elections at 10,685 voters, is currently seeing the third-highest in-person vote totals, with 4,672 recorded.
‘It’s our duty to vote’: Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, and Kensington residents say it’s time for change
This Election Day, Mt. Airy resident Anthony Giancatarino said he was inspired to vote bright and early in person with his wife, Kate, and their three young girls as an exercise of his civic duty.
“It’s our responsibility and duty to vote,” Giancatarino said. “We do live in a Democracy, as flawed as it is. It’s important for us to bring our kids to know that they have a right to speak up and voice their opinions.”
“There’s a lot I’d like to see changed,” he said. “I wish we could invest in our schools. I really wish we’d do a lot more around abolition and police reform. I would love to see the city take a lot more leadership on sustainability, climate justice. I’d like to see fair taxes. Of property taxes. I think corporations do not pay what they should pay and communities are forced out. So those are just a few things.”
Bruce White voted at the same polling place at a Presbyterian church in Mt, Airy. He’s also a father and husband to Carla.
White, donning a curly beard and flannel, said he’s “a blue collar kind of guy.”
He voted on Election Day in person in memory of his mother.
“She instilled in us that voting is the thing that’s going to make a change,” he said. “Try to make things different in your lifetime. I remember most about my mom and also being a Black man. You want to make the vote count.”
White said he’s most interested in curbing gun violence, especially among the youth.
“There’s got to be some way to corral their minds to get them to understand violence doesn’t change the issue — education changes issues. The more education and the value even the work programs that the city might have could be helpful to these young folk. But parents should be held accountable.”
So what about year-round school, as proposed by Cherelle Parker, the Democratic nominee for mayor?
“As a former parent, year-round school is very helpful,” said White. “But it also can kind of detract from home life. So you have to balance both.”
In West Oak Lane, Barbara Bailey said she’s not a senior citizen but a “bubbly person, just an older lady that loves to just enjoy life” as she waited outside to catch a glimpse of Parker near a Masjid in deep Northwest Philly.
Bailey said she doesn’t often vote but was inspired to head to the polls for Parker as a fellow Black woman.
“She’s real good, she cares about our community,” Bailey said. “She’s powerful and she makes sense. She needs the opportunity to show some men that women can do this too.”
Bailey said her top issues were gun violence, homelessness, and especially any kind of violence where children are involved.
“Young people need to drop the guns,” she said. “Maybe we need more love in the city.”
In Kensington, Mary Ellis cast her ballot in the morning.
Ellis is a mother and Hunting Park native.
“We need change in the community,” Ellis said. “I think that there’s a lot that needs to change but I think specifically in the Kensington area. We need to see some change around the opioid epidemic and the effects on our community on our children and the crime rate.”
Ellis says her neighborhood isn’t safe for her family.
“I would never let my daughter take the same route that I did [to school] and I have a teenage daughter, I think that speaks volumes,” she said.
Settlement Music faculty entertain outside schools-turned-polling places
Although people usually go to the Mary Louise Curtis Branch of Settlement Music School to use instruments like guitars and pianos, most folks heading in and out of the building today are looking to use the voting machines that have been temporarily set up there.
But that doesn’t mean the air isn’t still filled with music.
Nero Catalano, a guitar instructor who’s worked for the school for over a decade, set up with his instrument and loop pedal outside the Queen Village building that’s being used as a polling place Tuesday.
“We’re a music school, so when people walk by and they hear music, I think it’s really cool to wave hi to the community and give them a high-five for voting,” he said.
Three of Settlement Music School’s Philadelphia branches are being used as polling places today, so faculty are using it as a chance to perform for the community outside of them.
Founded in 1908, the Philadelphia-based community arts school has multiple branches in the city and surrounding suburbs. It counts figures like Questlove and Chubby Checker among its prominent alumni.
Three of the school’s facilities are being used as polling places today, so Catalano and two other faculty members signed up to perform for the community outside of them. Voters in Wynnefield were treated to the sound of Jonathan Daddis’s piano performance this morning, and Kardon-Northeast Branch neighbors will hear Corinne Kite-Dean play the violin later this afternoon.
The performances are something the institution’s faculty have done for the past several years, according to Settlement spokesperson Andrew Scott.
High stakes in Philly City Council race as Republicans and Working Families Party battle for at-large seats
When the results from Tuesday’s election are tallied, there’s a slim chance Philadelphia City Council could be without a Republican member for the first time in modern history.
A total GOP shutout would only happen if District 10 in the far Northeast flips after four decades of reelecting Republican Councilmember Brian O’Neill. His opponent, Democrat Gary Masino, has garnered more support than usual for a challenger in that district, but is still considered a longshot.
There’s a very real possibility, however, that Republicans could lose their at-large seat.
Abortion or parental choice are not the top issues for New Jersey voters this election cycle, a new poll finds.
“It’s the economy and it’s taxes, especially property taxes, and it’s affordability that’s at the top of their minds when they go to vote today,” said Ashley Koning, director of the Rutgers Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. The center released the findings Tuesday morning.
Only 6% of respondents chose abortion-reproductive issues, and 3% mentioned parental rights in education as their top priorities.
When voters were asked about the New Jersey legislature, Koning said “22% had a favorable impression of the governing body, 25% had a negative one, a plurality, 46% simply have no opinion on the legislature at all, and 7% are unsure what the legislature is.”
Polls in New Jersey are open until 8 p.m.
Philly recovery org offering free shuttle rides to polls
A group supporting people with substance use disorder and mental health issues is offering free shuttle service for anyone heading to the polls.
United Recovery, a Manayunk peer-based recovery support group, operates up to six non-clinical centers across Philadelphia, Delaware, Bucks, and Montgomery counties.
On Tuesday morning, it announced that Philadelphia-area residents who need transportation to polling places can text 267-578-3215 to schedule a time to be picked up. This is its second year in a row offering the service.
“It’s for anyone, but our organization primarily serves those that are living in recovery, suffer from mental health, or are homeless,” said Robert Ashford, executive director.
“If someone texts in at our peer hotline, and they request a ride,” he said, “we can get to them within 15 minutes.”
United Recovery also has locations in Pittsburgh and Weatherford, Texas. The Philadelphia-based headquarters staffs up to 81 people. Each employee is eligible to drive shuttles.
Ashford co-founded United Recovery in 2015 with his wife, Arielle. Since then, the organization has offered non-clinical peer-based recovery services such as tele-recovery, pregnancy support, and re-entry services
Still have your Pa. or N.J. mail ballot? You can hand it in today
More than 1 million mail ballots were requested for the 2023 general election in Pennsylvania. As of Monday morning, 69% were returned. In New Jersey, more than 925,000 mail and absentee ballots were requested. Nearly 46% have been returned,
Still holding onto yours? There are several ways to turn it in. Here’s what to know in both states:
If you have a mail ballot but prefer to vote in person, bring your ballot (and the envelopes it came with) and surrender it to a poll worker. Once you’ve surrendered your mail ballot and signed a declaration, you can cast a regular ballot.
If you requested a mail ballot but didn’t receive one, head to your polling place and ask for a provisional ballot. After Election Day, officials will verify you didn’t already vote by mail and count your ballot.
Mail ballots must be delivered to a drop box or county election officials by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. Mail ballots postmarked by the deadline, but not yet received, do not count.
Pennsylvania voters will make a decision with implications for the future of voting and abortion rights in a presidential battleground state when they choose the winner in Tuesday’s election for an open state Supreme Court seat.
The race between Democrat Dan McCaffery and Republican Carolyn Carluccio will not change the fact that Democrats hold a majority on the seven-seat bench. Democrats currently hold a 4-2 majority with an open seat following the death last year of Chief Justice Max Baer, a Democrat.
Justices serve 10-year terms before they must run for retention to stay on the court.
McCaffery is a former Philadelphia prosecutor and judge who sits on a statewide appellate court, the Superior Court. Carolyn Carluccio is a Montgomery County judge and a former federal prosecutor and public defender.
The state’s highest court has issued pivotal decisions on major election-related cases in recent years, including throwing out GOP-drawn congressional districts as unconstitutionally gerrymandered and rejecting a Republican effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state after Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden.
New Jersey wraps up voting Tuesday for a new Legislature, with all 120 seats on the ballot, as Republicans fight for controlling either chamber for the first time in more than two decades.
The GOP has refrained from declaring its members would recapture control of either chamber, which they haven’t held since 2001. But they sounded optimistic after picking up seven legislative seats in 2021, when Gov. Phil Murphy won reelection by a slimmer margin than polls had projected.
At stake is control of the 80-member Assembly and 40-seat Senate, with Democrats currently dominating both chambers, as well as holding the governorship.
Candidates in this year’s contested races each ran on their own issues. But overall, Democrats focused on a number of property tax rebates they delivered over the last two years as well as pledging to defend abortion rights.
“We got a pair of handcuffs, we got a jail cell, and we got a Philadelphia jury,” he warned. “The reason we haven’t had problems here is that the enemies of democracy wouldn’t dare.”
The DA’s Election Task Force encourages voters to report suspicious activity via its hotline at 215-686-9641, or via the national nonpartisan election protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.
The DAO said that voters with questions on the election process should contact the Philadelphia City Commissioners’ Office at 215-686-VOTE. Voters should call 911 if they come across any violence or physical threats at polling stations.
“The right to vote, the integrity of the election system and the peaceful transfer of power are cornerstones of our American democracy,” said City Commission Omar Sabir in a statement. “It is vital that these principles be preserved.”
Cherelle Parker casts her vote, says not time to celebrate yet
On a cloudy and slightly chilly Election Day at Northwest Philly’s Masjidullah Center for Human Excellence Campus, Democratic nominee Cherelle Parker cast her vote alongside her son and godson, instructing them to vote straight ticket.
Parker was flanked by her high school English teacher, who donned a ruby red pantsuit and a gold pin that says #BlackWomenLead.
“Never in a million years did I ever think that this would be a place and a space that I would occupy in this world,” Parker said. “I’m grateful today for the folks on whose shoulders I stand to get here.”
She gathered with her election crew, bowing her head in a prayer huddle. After casting her vote, she encouraged supporters to keep working to the very end.
“I want you all to know that this is not a celebration. We have to work until 8:01 today when the polls close to do what I have learned to do all of my life, and that is to earn the support of voters across the city of Philadelphia.”
Parker is expected to join her fellow Democrats at the South Jazz Kitchen on Broad Street later today for lunch.
Philly voters will elect the city’s 100th mayor on Tuesday
Voters on both ends of Pennsylvania are deciding Tuesday who will lead the state’s most populous counties, in races that could help shape how Democrats talk about crime, progressive policy and abortion in the political arena.
The results in Philadelphia and Allegheny County, which is home to Pittsburgh, will set the electoral stage for 2024, when the state will be a presidential battleground state, with candidates taking lessons about how Democrats see crime and the strength of progressives in local races. into the next election cycle.
In Philadelphia, the nation’s sixth largest city, voters will choose a new mayor between Democrat Cherelle Parker and Republican David Oh.
The candidates are vying to replace Democrat Jim Kenney, who cannot seek reelection due to term limits.