Schmidt said he had not discussed the idea with his fellow commissioners beforehand. A stunned Singer opposed the move, but it became official with Clark's support.
"It's no secret that we've had a bumpy time this past year, and we're looking to resolve that issue," Schmidt said after the meeting.
Singer and Schmidt were elected last year as reform candidates, while Clark was re-elected to his post. Schmidt and Clark have held growing concerns about what they see as unilateral power moves by Singer. In September, they clashed with her as she tried to give her chief deputy a raise and make other personnel moves.
Schmidt and Clark united in June in a series of measures to limit her power in meetings. They also clarified that Singer's election in January to the chairwoman's post could be undone with the votes of two commissioners.
Singer said she would continue to work to improve elections in Philadelphia. She acknowleged clashes with her colleagues, including the one over her desire to give her top aide a raise.
"I'm here to serve the people of Philadelphia. I'm here for free and fair elections," Singer said.
She said the office is still investigating claims that there were problems at the polls Tuesday. The good-government group Committee of Seventy said it had received numerous complaints from voters whose names were not listed in the poll book or in supplemental materials at their polling places, which meant they had to cast provisional ballots.
Singer said the commission didn't know how many provisional ballots were cast Tuesday and how that compared with previous years' totals, though she did say that more polling places needed additional provisional ballots than in years past.
"Definitely something happened," Singer said.
Mayor Nutter said his office would review how the commissioners handled the election.
"In recent memory I just don't recall there being so much a level of confusion," Nutter said. "I was left with an impression that there was a level of confusion and dysfunction in the city commissioners' operation."
Contact Catherine Lucey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-4172. Follow her on Twitter @PhillyClout. Read her blog at phillyclout.com.