Philly goes to vote on a quiet Election Day

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A committee person stands next to the door of Ellwood Elementary School, a polling place in East Oak Lane, on Election Day.
PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk

Not even 20 people had arrived at Pam Hill’s table to vote Tuesday at Mallery-Rumph Recreation Center in East Germantown as the clock ticked toward noon.

“Most of them are mailing it in now,” said Hill, a judge of elections in the 59th Ward. “It’s changed a lot since COVID.”

Low turnout was expected, with no high-profile competitive races, and in-person participation was likely not helped by a cold, dreary Election Day.

“People should come out anyway,” Reggie Macon, a Democratic committee person in the 61st Ward, told Metro. “A vote is a vote.”

That sentiment was echoed by Andrea Mayo, who cast her ballot in-person at Ellwood Elementary School in East Oak Lane.

“Voting is my right,” she said. “Doesn’t matter what the election is, you have to vote.”

Christopher Sloan showed up at Ellwood but was told that, based on his address, he had to go to a different polling place near 69th Avenue and Old York Road.

“Votes count,” Sloan said. “That’s what the democratic system is set up for.”

The local race generating the most buzz Tuesday was for district attorney, where Republican Charles Peruto Jr. was challenging incumbent Democrat Larry Krasner.

Marvine Truesdale, a voter at Mallery-Rumph, said he came out to support Krasner, a heavy favorite, and Democratic judicial candidates.

“He seemingly has a lot of good reform ideas,” Truesdale said prior to casting his ballot. “Krasner seems like he’s really trying to work with people and be fair with things.”

The entrance to Rumph-Mallery Recreation Center, a polling place in East Germantown, on Election Day. Jack Tomczuk

City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart ran unopposed, and there were also competitive races for state Supreme Court and Commonwealth Court.

In addition, voters were asked to weigh in on poll questions about whether the city should urge the state to legalize marijuana; whether the city should create a department for fleet services; whether the “rule of two” for civil service jobs should be eliminated; and whether City Council and the mayor should be mandated to devote 0.5% of the municipal budget to affordable housing programs.

Results were not released at the time Metro went to print. Go to metrophiladelphia.com for the latest election updates.

More than 110,400 Philadelphia residents requested mail-in ballots, of which 67,434 had been submitted as of Tuesday morning, according to Deputy City Commissioner Nick Custodio.

Voters could still hand deliver the ballots to an elections office or dropbox through 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Pennsylvanians have been able to vote by mail without an excuse since the 2020 primary, and the option has gained steam in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot of people are voting by mail-in ballot because it’s available and accessible,” Macon said.

Hill’s voting machines weren’t available Tuesday morning, at least momentarily. She arrived at the rec center early, and two outlets in the gym were not working.

She was able to secure an extension cord, and the booths were activated two minutes after 7 a.m.

“Other than that, everything’s running smooth,” Hill said, adding that no voters showed up until around 9 a.m. anyway.

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