By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia election officials reported light-to-moderate turnout through most of the day on Primary Day, and relatively few problems.
Deputy city commissioner Fred Voigt estimated turnout as of 5pm in the 30-percent range. That is in the same range as the past two primaries for mayor in which there was no incumbent: 1999 and 2007.
David Thornburgh, of the watchdog group Committee of 70, was expecting things to pick up as voters got home from work.
“There’ll be a surge after folks get off work and around dinnertime,” he predicted, “so we’ll have to wait and see. The conditions are right for a good turnout, in terms of the weather and everything else, but so far it’s been a little thin.”
Voigt, at the commissioners’ office, and officials at the DA’s office all say that election day problems have been minimal. Most complaints, according to assistant DA Peter Berson, have involved the two District Council races that are contested: the 2nd District and the 7th.
But, in Berson’s words, “It is nothing that we weren’t expecting.”
Thornburg, at the Committee of 70, agrees:
“It’s quiet. Not unreasonably quiet. It’s not quiet time for the Maytag repair man. There’s a steady flow of calls coming in, but no big spikes and nothing really serious that we’ve encountered.”
Thornburgh says the mayoral campaigns have mostly been “playing nice.”
“I probably heard about a half-dozen swirling rumors, but none of them seemed to check out to anything substantial,” Thornburgh says. “But we’ll keep monitoring the situation and working with the appropriate authorities to track things down.”
Complaints about voting place problems can go to the DA’s office at 215-686-9641 or to the Committee of 70 at 855-SEVENTY.
The polls close at 8pm.
Philadelphia Democrats will find six names in the mayor’s race: state senator Anthony Williams, former city councilman Jim Kenney, former DA Lynne Abraham, former city solicitor Nelson Diaz, former Nutter spokesman Doug Oliver, and former state senator Milton Street.
City voters are also choosing their party’s nominees for all 17 seats on City Council. The key races include the battle for the five Democratic nominations for Council “at-large” seats, with 16 candidates, including four incumbents.
The hard-fought battle in the 2nd District, which covers much of South and Southwest Philadelphia, pits incumbent Kenyatta Johnson against challenger Ori Feibush. In the 7th District, incumbent Maria Quinones Sanchez is challenged by Manny Morales.