Reporting Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The election watchdog group “Committee of 70” describes turnout throughout the Philadelphia region on Tuesday as “light.”
Within the city itself, some divisions, primarily in center city and the Northwest, have reported stronger turnouts. But overall, officials predict that turnout could be slightly lower than the last midterm election four years ago.
The biggest problem so far was a nasty scuffle that broke out at a polling location in South Philadelphia. Police and the district attorney’s office were called to the scene and the poll was forced to close for a brief time. The dispute centered on who was certified to sit as the minority Republican inspector to watch the voting. Sources described the altercation as “a total madhouse” and “a riot.” No arrests were made, and police eventually restored order.
The DA’s office reports other disputes over inspectors in other locations, though without the violence, as well as reports of electioneering. In the words of one official, it is “routine stuff.”
Staffers at the Committee of 70 received a few reports of malfunctioning machines, late openings of polling places, and problems with some voters getting foreign language interpreters.
The Committee of 70 also received a report that an individual “dressed like a Black Panther” was at a polling place at 12th and Fairmount. The district attorney’s office investigated and found the individual was merely walking around, and not interfering with the voting.
This is noteworthy only because a national controversy that erupted two years ago over two men identifying themselves as “New Black Panthers” allegedly intimidating voters at the same polling place.
If you have any problems voting in Philadelphia, you can contact the DA’s office, the city commissioners, or the Committee of 70 (see related article).
Democrats are hoping for a strong turnout in the city in order to boost the chances of two statewide candidates: Dan Onorato for governor, who is running against the GOP’s Tom Corbett; and Joe Sestak for US Senate, who faces Republican Pat Toomey.
Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio.