City Commission: Voting booths will be there

Posted: November 01, 2012

DELIVERY of thousands of voting machines set to be delivered to 900 polling places throughout the city on Monday was delayed until Wednesday because of Hurricane Sandy.

Will the delay have an impact on Tuesday's presidential election?

"We have enough time between now and Election Day to get everything done," said City Commission chairwoman Stephanie Singer, adding that the machines have already been tested.

Five trucks were set to transport 3,505 voting machines to various polling locations, including schools, libraries and other city facilities that were closed Monday and Tuesday, when weather conditions made it difficult to drive, said Commissioner Al Schmidt. Only 525 machines were delivered before the storm.

In response to the delay, two trucks will be added and the number of deliverymen increased from 13 to about 20, said John Day, voting-warehouse supervisor. Schmidt said the additions would cost about $30,000. Deliveries will resume Wednesday.

Although Mayor Nutter ordered schools and city offices to be closed Monday and Tuesday - except for public-safety workers - elections staff braved the storm both days and continued to tackle a backlog of voter-registration applications even as flooding reached their office on Delaware Avenue.

Staff left at 4 p.m. Monday but returned Tuesday.

The Committee of Seventy, a good-government watchdog group, had concerns earlier this month about a backlog of unprocessed registration applications it estimated to exceed 20,000.

"It did seem like they were running behind in terms of making sure people were registered," said Zack Stalberg, president of the Committee of Seventy, who said that he'll look for an update at the next commissioners meeting, which has been moved from the usual Wednesday to Friday morning. "We pay them to work well in an emergency. That's what government is supposed to do."

Commissioners and staff could not provide information about how many applications had not been processed, but they still contend that anyone who handed in an application before the deadline will be able to vote.

Gov. Corbett extended the absentee-voter application deadline due to the storm. In Philadelphia voters have until Thursday. The deadline for completed absentee ballots is Friday Nov. 2.

Contact Jan Ransom at or 215-854-5218. Follow her on Twitter @Jan_Ransom. Read her blog at

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