Philadelphia citizens are again called upon to participate in their democracy at the ballot box on May 15. Primary day is being run at some 1,686 voting divisions by more than 7,500 volunteers for more than a million registered voters.
In the Republican primary, the GOP will select a candidate to run against Gov. Tom Wolf in November, in addition to assorted state and federal races, while Democrats will be voting on nominees to potentially send to Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and to find your polling place, visit http://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov, or visit Philly’s nonpartisan good government watchdog Committee of Seventy’s website at seventy.org,
The Philadelphia DA’s office will have an active Election Fraud Task Force, which takes complaints and responds to issues of alleged electioneering at polling places around Philadelphia. To reach the DA’s Task Force, call 215-686-9641/9643/9644.
It’s also the first election since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court redrew the state’s congressional districts after ruling that old maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Philadelphia is now represented by the 2nd, 3rd and 5th districts. That’s created some changes, like shifting US Rep. Dwight Evans, who beat Congressman Chaka Fattah in 2016 for the 2nd District, to now run in the Democratic primary for the 3rd District.
Some say the map change has sparked a flood of interest from candidates. Fifteen Democrats are running for the 5th Congressional District alone.
New Congressional Map
The justices redrew the boundaries with the help of independent experts after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf rejected a proposal drawn by Republican legislative leaders as unfairly skewed in their party’s favor.
Legal battles are playing out in several U.S. states over gerrymandering, the process by which district lines are manipulated to favor one party. Pennsylvania has long been seen as one of the worst offenders, with one of its districts nicknamed “Goofy Kicking Donald Duck,” a reference to a cartoon image evoked by its odd shape.
Pennsylvania is a hotly contested swing state, and the redistricting is expected to boost Democrats’ chances of winning several of the U.S. House seats in the state in November.
Democrats must gain 24 seats nationwide to take control of the House from Republicans. Republicans hold 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats.
The new map means that Democrats could win up to 11 seats in Pennsylvania in midterm elections, said Michael Li, a lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school, which filed an amicus brief in the case.
“This is the map that many people think is natural for Pennsylvania, which is a 50-50 state, a classic battleground, but hasn’t performed that way in terms of congressional elections for decades,” he said by telephone.
Key Phone Numbers
The Office of the City Commissioners, which oversees Philly elections, has offered several dedicated lines for specific issues to Philly voters.
Voter Registration Issues 215-686-1590
Voting Machine Issues 215-686-7800
Polling Place Issues 215-686-1523
Poll Worker Issues 215-685-4811
Missing Election Materials 215-686-1530
Absentee Ballot Issues 215-686-3469
Provisional Ballot Issues 215-686-1530
To reach the DA’s Election Fraud Task Force, call 215-686-9641/9643/9644.