Yesterday evening at Field House, Democrat Paul Steinke, former general manager at Reading Terminal Market, announced his bid for City Council At-Large. According to his campaign, if he wins, he would become the first openly LGBT person elected to citywide office.
It was a balmy day, the polls seemed reasonably busy, and anecdote after anecdote poured in suggesting voter turnout in Philly yesterday was reasonably strong.
Well, not so much. Only about 36 percent of registered Philadelphia voters cast a ballot in yesterday’s gubernatorial race, the lowest turnout in a gubernatorial election since Governor Ridge’s re-election romp in 1998. Indeed, it was second lowest turnout for a governor’s race in modern city history.
In 1962, Richard Nixon lost his campaign to be California governor. In 1968, he was elected president.
In between, he spent years campaigning for just about every Republican who would consent to share a dais with him. He built up a huge account of contacts and people who owed him favors. And when the time came to run for president, he called in those favors, winning office on the back of a network of politicians who owed him one.
All of which is to say: History is smiling brightly on Chris Christie’s nascent 2016 presidential campaign this morning.
When Philadelphia voters headed to the polls yesterday, they also had choices on three ballot questions. Noncontroversial ballot questions tend to pass easily, and that’s what happened here: The two changes to the city charter and a bond borrowing question passed with between 64 and 67 percent of the vote.
At posting, just under 98 percent of city precincts had been counted.
Ballot Question 1, which called for a permanent office of sustainability in the city, passed with 66 percent of the vote. The Inquirer, notably, came out against Question 1, arguing that “administrations should be able to manage the office without any further complication of the charter.” PlanPhilly’s Ashley Hahn argued instead the office of sustainability was a lean outfit that brought tangible results to the city, and making it permanent would be a boon. Now we get to see if she’s right.
Follow the 2014 election returns with live tweeting from Patrick (@pkerkstra) Kerkstra and Joel (@JoelMMathis) Mathis, who’ve commandeered the Philly Mag Twitter account.
On Tuesday morning, around 10:30 a.m., I dragged myself out of bed to make my way to my local polling place, which I found courtesy of Where’s My F**king Polling Place.
Normally, I get a little thing in the mail telling me where to vote, and the location seems to bounce around each year. There are also normally signs in the neighborhood giving people bad information on where to vote, a common dirty campaign trick. But this year, I didn’t see a single sign, and I also never got that little thing in the mail.
What was also abnormal about this particular Election Day was that I was dragging myself out of bed at 10:30 a.m.
Not to indulge all those people who like to accuse me of always figuring out a way to bring my whiny self into each story, but I was rushed to the E.R. on Sunday night in excruciating pain. Turns out I have kidney stones, and so I am currently enjoying a prescription for Percocet and an 800mg Ibuprofren horse pill. So you will excuse me if I digress.
Editor’s note: Be sure to share your story and pics on Twitter and Instagram at #PHLVotes.
[Update 1:45 p.m.] Even more updates and selfies…
[Update 11 a.m.] More updates and selfies from the world of social media:
Went to the polls this morning to vote, which always gives me a thrill. All the other days of the year I carp about the two-party system, the poverty of choices, the crass motivations of the candidates and the ignorance of the electorate (myself included). But without fail, Election Day inspires me. Some people wake up the morning of the Super Bowl and feel electric. That’s how I feel on Election Day.
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It’s election day! You should be elated to have the freedom to vote today — and then to head to the bars afterward. It’s not a right you’ve always had in Pennsylvania.
All bars were closed in Pennsylvania on election day until 1973. That’s when an exemption was granted to bars that make 30 percent of their revenues from food and nonalcoholic beverages. Bars below that percentage had to close on voting days until 2001, when the state’s liquor laws were changed.
It wasn’t just Pennsylvania. A report by the federal government’s 1971 National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse said most states prohibited alcohol sales on election day, at least in part. A 1906 report of the Pennsylvania Bar Association said retail and wholesale liquor sellers must be closed between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. on election day in the state.