Notes: Philadelpha City Commissioners Public Meeting October 5, 2011

This week the City Commissioners met in Room 387, City Hall. Attending the meeting were City Commissioner Chairwoman Margaret Tartaglione, Acting City Commissioners Honorable Charles J. Cunningham, III and Honorable Leon Tucker, their deputies and staff, Board of Elections department heads, Deputy Commissioner Fred Voigt, Seventy staff, GOP operative Joe DeFelice, Bob Warner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and members of the public.

Pennsylvania Municipal Election, November 8, 2011

Budget Crunch
The Commissioners reported that they received word from city budget officials to prepare 2 percent cuts to their operating budget over the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30. The Commissioners put on record this would be a major hardship that might hamper their preparations for the April 24 Presidential Primary. The Commissioners also lambasted outsized postage costs for voter registration, absentee ballot, and other correspondence with voters, which they say eats up precious funds needed elsewhere.

Campaign Finance Reports
September 27 was the last day for statewide candidates and committees making payments to statewide candidates to file reports under Pennsylvania Election Code. City candidates and any committees or statewide candidates donating to city candidates were required to file reports by the September 27 with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics under a separate set of local Philadelphia laws.

Campaign Finance Trainings
The Commissioners will hold two more trainings in cooperation with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics covering city and state campaign finance filing requirements. The remaining training dates are as follows.
October 13, 5:30 PM, City Commissioners, 520 North Delaware Avenue, 6th Floor
October 18, 10:30 AM, Philadelphia Board of Ethics, The Packard Building, 1441 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor
Call the Board of Ethics at 215-686-9450 with questions

Voter Registration

The Commissioners reported they have received 10,685 voter registration applications since the May Primary, a lighter volume than the months leading up to the 2007 Municipal Election. The Commissioners rejected 536 applications, 127 of which were filed in the wrong county.

The Pennsylvania voter registration deadline for the 2011 Municipal Election is October 11. The deadline was previously scheduled for October 10, which is Columbus Day.

Absentee Ballots
The Commissioners have received 644 total applications for absentee ballots, including 126 in the previous week. Voter have until November 1 to submit applications for absentee ballots.

Sample Ballots
The City Commissioners reported that paper sample ballots will be available to the public beginning next week.

Polling Places
The City Commissioners have until October 19 to finalize the locations of all polling places for the November 8 General Election. There are currently a small number of sites that have not been secured. In addition, the Commissioners continue to conduct hearings to settle the location of 56 polling places, which must be moved to handicap accessible locations to comply with the settlement in a lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice.

Bilingual Interpreters
The City Commissioners have sent letters to ward leaders and bilingual interpreters in past elections to secure workers for the November 8 Election. Anybody would like to serve as a bilingual interpreter should contact the Commissioners.

Polling Worker Trainings
The City Commissioners will conduct several trainings throughout the city in upcoming weeks for members of polling place election boards. The dates and locations are available on the City Commissioners website,, or by calling the office, 215-686-3460.

Future Meetings
The Commissioners will continue to conduct future weekly meetings at 11:00 AM, Wednesday, in Room 387, City Hall, for the remainder of the fall election season.

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