City Commissioners Meeting

Below are notes from the April 8, 2009 City Commissioners' meeting.

Absentee Ballots

The City Commissioners are responsible for printing and sending absentee ballots to registered voters who apply and qualify for them before Election Day. While the majority of the ballot is finalized, there are some cases that may come up and require a late change to the candidates and questions voted on. The Commissioners, seeking advice on the legality of accomodating changes to the ballot and requirements on when to mail ballots out, have requested a written opinion from the City Law Department on the issue. As of now 100 new applications for absentee ballots have been processed since last week.

Kelly Green, President of the Philadelphia League of Women Voters (LWV), suggested to the Commissioners that they might want to clarify Emergency Absentee Ballot procedure. Emergency Absentee Ballots are ballots used by people who 1) did not expect to vote absentee until after the deadline for Absentee Ballot registration, so did not register for Absentee status, and 2) cannot physically go to a Polling Place on Election Day (this usually applies to people who have entered a hospital or nursing home).

Both LWV and Committee of Seventy received numerous calls in November’s General Election regarding confusion over this process. In response, Fred Voigt, Deputy City Commissioner, explained that the process is actually simple, but that this past November both parties got involved in Election court trying to give their candidate an edge, thereby making it harder than it should have been to vote by Emergency Absentee Ballot. Bill Rubin added that, because a hospital is considered one address, there can be several hospital patients voting by emergency absentee ballot from one hospital, a fact that should simplify the process if a Hospital prepares for Election day.

Polling Place Locations

There were no new polling place changes this week. Currently, there are 19 polling places that are awaiting relocation. The last hearing before City Commissioners is Wednesday, April 29th.

About Seventy

The Committee of Seventy fights for clean and effective government, fair elections and a better informed citizenry in Philadelphia and the region.More on our mission.


Zack Stalberg
President & CEO

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