Philadelphians go to the polls to vote in 2024 Pennsylvania primary

election vote primary
Martha Washington Academics Plus School serves as a polling place in West Philadelphia on April 23, the day of the Pennsylvania primary.

Philadelphians went to the polls to vote in Tuesday’s primary election, but turnout – at least early in the day – appeared to be low.

The lack of enthusiasm was not surprising, given that there were no serious challengers to the presumptive nominees from both parties in the top-of-ticket races for president and U.S. Senate.

Democrats and Republicans did have an opportunity to pick from candidates vying to be Pennsylvania’s next attorney general, and there were also competitive races for other statewide offices. State house representatives in a handful of districts around the city faced contested primaries.

Polls closed Tuesday night after Metro went to print. Results will be posted at, and coverage will be available at

“Unfortunately, it’s very slow,” said Drew Murray, who ran unsuccessfully last year as a GOP City Council at-large candidate. “It’s disheartening, with everything that’s going on. Still have a lot of violence in the city, even if we’re seeing it slow down a little bit. You would still think it was going to motivate people enough to get out and vote.”

On primary day, Murray, who lives in Center City, was outside Baldi Middle School in Bustleton handing out campaign materials for Aizaz Gill, one of two Republicans seeking to represent the 172nd state house district in Northeast Philadelphia. U.S. Army veteran Patrick Gushue is the other GOP candidate.

Murray, along with other poll and campaign workers, was hoping for a late afternoon or evening voter rush.

Michelle Sampson, a judge of election at Charles L. Durham Library in Mantua, said turnout there has been boosted in recent years by increasing numbers of Drexel and Penn students registering to vote in West Philadelphia, rather than casting ballots at their family home.

“It’s been pretty steady,” she told Metro. “We have a lot of college students coming through, and they’re part of the community.”

Michelle Sampson, a judge of election, and GOP Ward Leader Joe Samuel pose for a photo on primary election day outside Charles L. Durham Library in Mantua.JACK TOMCZUK

Many who did come out to vote in-person cited a civic obligation, rather than a specific race, as their motivation.

“I feel like it’s my duty as a citizen,” said Kimberly, who declined to provide her last name, after casting her ballot at Durham Library.

The District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday afternoon that their election task force had received a small number of complaints from people at the polls, with most involving electioneering.

One of the more closely watched General Assembly contests in the city was in the 172nd District, where, in addition to Gill and Gushue on the Republican side, Democrats were selecting between incumbent state Rep. Kevin Boyle and his party-backed challenger, Sean Dougherty.

Authorities last week issued an arrest warrant for Boyle, alleging that he violated a restraining order. On Monday, the eve of the election, law enforcement officials said the warrant was revoked because the order was no longer active. Boyle’s relatives have said he is dealing with a serious mental health issue.

In the seas of campaign signs outside polling places in Bustleton and Fox Chase, there were no signs of Boyle’s name, and no Election Day workers appeared to be passing out his campaign literature.

Jim Carroll, a voter at Baldi, said he is uncomfortable with Boyle remaining in office, but he doesn’t believe Democrats have any great options in the primary.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to vote for Dougherty either because it seems like a family thing,” he told Metro.

Campaign signs for Democratic state representative candidate sit outside Baldi Middle School Tuesday, April 23, in Bustleton.JACK TOMCZUK

Dougherty’s father, Kevin, is a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, and his uncle is John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, the former electricians union boss who is currently on trial for federal criminal charges.

Leo Dignam said he was thinking about Boyle’s race and the presidential election in November when casting his ballot at Fox Chase School.

“I’m concerned about Trump getting back in,” Dignam said, adding that he hopes Biden gets high numbers in the primary “so the rest of the country sees that Philadelphia supports Joe Biden.”

Joe Samuel, a GOP ward leader in West Philadelphia, is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

“I’m a cold-blooded Trumper,” Samuel said, decked out head-to-toe in leather outside Durham Library. “I don’t care for Biden.”

Pennsylvania – and Philadelphia – are again expected to play a major role in determining who wins the White House on Nov. 5.

A sign for Cass Green is posted Tuesday, April 23, outside Charles L. Durham Library, which served as a polling place for the Pennsylvania primary.JACK TOMCZUK