Voter Turnout in Many Divisions Exceeded Expectations in Philly

As a Committee Person for the 36th Ward of the Democratic Party in Philadelphia I was disappointed with the prediction of 18% voter turnout in the Gubernatorial election.  Governor Tom Corbett and Candidate Tom Wolf put in a lot of time and energy in order to get their message out about their platforms.  Voters barely saw Congressman Chaka Fattah who was opposed by a relative newcomer in Armond James.  Also, there was a number of State Representative seats up for grabs.  Senator Anthony Williams was running pretty much unopposed.  I attended a rally for Tom Wolf headlined by Hillary Clinton.  Michelle Obama and President Obama also stumped for Tom Wolf here in Philly.  All of the efforts produced a win for the Democratic candidate.

The major sticking point for many voters was the lack of funding for education in Philadelphia.  The story was the same throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  If you weren't fortunate enough to live in an affluent district, then your taxes were probably not enough to warrant teacher raises and adequate supplies.  Our legislators were happy to pass a $2.00 a pack cigarette tax just to get us back to a bare bones budget in Philadelphia.  I know that many smokers are going out of their way to support their habit outside of Philadelphia.  An extra $20.00 for ten packs of cigarettes would not be in my budget.  Another issue that affected Corbett was a backlash at supporting the firing of Coach Joe Paterno.  Many Penn State alumni, some Republican, refused to vote for Tom Corbett.

I was more than pleasantly surprised by the turnout in the 36th Ward, 35th, 36th and 40th divisions.  We had a friendly competition going on all day.  There were not many political pamphlets being handed out outside the polling place.  Tom Wolf decided against honoring the time honored tradition of distributing street money.  I heard that Local 98 was heavily involved in getting voters to the polls.  They are a well oiled machine.  We reached 42% participation in our division.  That is based on 267 voters out of a registration of 627.  The young voters and families really helped.  It was a beautiful turnout and reflected the diversity in our neighborhood.

Their was a minor incident that marred an otherwise spectacular day.  A Committee Person in the 1st division caused a fracas based on the lack of a seat at the poll workers table.  Three of the positions are elected positions.  I am the Majority Inspector.  There are also positions for the Minority Inspector and the Judge of Elections.The Machine Inspector and Clerks are discretionary positions.  I was appointed as a Machine Inspector by Harold James before I was elected.  The irate Committee Person in question could have attended a Ward meeting and expressed his concern before police had to be called.

It is a very interesting time politically right now.  All City Council candidates will be up for reelection.  The Mayoral primary will take place also.  There is going to be a heated contest here in the 2nd Councilmanic District.  I like the job that our current Councilperson has been doing.  Affordable housing is a big concern with the explosion of new construction going on now.  Quality of life issues will also be key.  I am encouraged by the turnout on Tuesday and look forward to the next primary election in April of 2015.

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