City Commissioner Stephanie Singer ‘overly partisan’ in email

One of the people charged with making sure elections are run properly in Philadelphia is taking heat for an e-mail sent to her supporters Thursday.

City Commissioner Stephanie Singer, a Democrat, sent a message from her campaign that read, in part, “As a woman, and as a Jew, I am horrified at the prospect of Republican control of government.”

Singer is one of two Democratic commissioners, while the third, Al Schmidt, is a Republican.

Government watchdog group Committee of Seventy said the e-mail was another example of why commissioners should be appointed, not elected.

“I think it was wrong of her to send out an e-mail that was overly partisan this close to the election,” said Seventy’s President and CEO Zack Stalberg, though he noted the message did not appear to violate any ethical rules. “It just really sends the wrong signal.”

Singer defended the message, claiming that her passion for elections makes her well-suited to maintain the integrity of the process.

“You will find that people involved in election administration, even at the highest level, are people like me who care so deeply about elections because we have been part of elections and part of parties and we believe in democracy,” she said.

Singer said the e-mail was to share a story about her experience.

“I love the values that I grew up with in this country, and I thought I had something important to say about my own experience.” She added, “My Republican colleague endorsed a Republican candidate earlier this year. This is not new.”

Voter backlog could mean voter backlash

Seventy also reported yesterday that there is a significant backlog in processing voter registration applications. Stalberg thinks this message could be construed wrongly by some voters.

“If I were a Republican in that backlog and I heard about this e-mail, I’d come away believing I was intentionally pushed aside and not permitted to register,” he said.