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NEWS
May 12, 2010 | By Kristen A. Graham, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Acting on a request from state and city officials, city schools will open two hours late next Tuesday, May 18, Pennsylvania's primary election day. School Reform Commission Chairman Robert L. Archie Jr. made the announcement at Wednesday's meeting. Archie said that Gov. Rendell and Pamela Pryor Dembe, president judge of the Court of Common Pleas, had asked the commission "to make accomodations for the expected heavy voter turnout. " Initially, the district had scheduled the day as an in-service day when teachers would attend but students would not. But a harsh winter and a number of snow days caused the district to amend its calendar, eating into spring break, extending the school year, and turning primary day into a full student day. The decision angered many city officials, who said they feared for students' safety as many schools are polling places.
NEWS
April 1, 2010 | By Kristen A. Graham INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Philadelphia city commissioners Wednesday publicly emphasized their fear that children's safety could be jeopardized if school is held on the day of next month's primary election. Originally, May 18 was to be a day off for Philadelphia School District students, with teachers present for training. But a rash of snow days forced the district to tack on days to its calendar, and Superintendent Arlene Ackerman picked primary-election day as one of them. Last year, the district bowed to city pressure and extended its school year by one day in June rather than bring children in on primary election day. At the time, a district spokesman said the move was "in response to our ongoing partnership with the city.
NEWS
March 27, 2010 | By Miriam Hill INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Philadelphia schools will be open on primary election day in May to make up for snow days, leaving some officials worried about children's safety. "It's going to be a mess," said Margaret Tartaglione, who chairs the commissioners who oversee city elections. "There will be thousands of people walking through the schools, and it's dangerous. I got such a headache. " Students have not had school on an election day since at least 2007 because of a policy change suggested by Tartaglione and agreed to by the School District of Philadelphia.
NEWS
April 17, 2009 | By Marcia Gelbart and Kristen A. Graham INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman needs to keep Philadelphia students in class for two extra days this school year to make up for bad-weather closings. But one of the makeup days she proposed has set Ackerman on a collision course with city election officials. That day is May 19. Primary day. With about 200 schools serving as polling places, that could mean thousands of voters walking through school doors while classes are in session. City officials say their chief concerns are the safety of students and whether voting booths, if they have to be confined to certain areas, will meet federal rules on handicapped accessibility.
NEWS
April 17, 2009 | By Robert Moran INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Justice Department has settled with Philadelphia on a plan to improve access to polling places for the disabled, the agency announced yesterday. "This agreement will help ensure that persons with mobility disabilities have the opportunity to exercise their right and cast their ballot in person, at the polls, near their homes and alongside their neighbors," said Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. The Justice Department said the settlement was the first between the agency and a city that focused solely on polling-place accessibility.
NEWS
January 9, 2009 | By Kristin E. Holmes INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Voters in the precinct that includes Lincoln University have petitioned Chester County commissioners to change a polling location that on Nov. 4 became so crowded that some waited in line for more than seven hours. The polling place, a small community center in Lower Oxford Township, was packed with voters, many of them university students who stood in the rain, in the dark and sometimes on railroad tracks just before a train traveled by. "It's just not an adequate facility.
NEWS
November 5, 2008 | By John Sullivan INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Two members of the New Black Panther Party standing outside a polling place at 12th Street and Fairmount Avenue began a national stir yesterday after a Republican poll watcher called police, alleging the men were intimidating white voters. The story quickly became the top video at FoxNews, where reporter Rick Leventhal faced off against one of the men. Viewers also flocked to YouTube to watch video from the scene. But police and an investigator from the District Attorney's Office found no evidence of intimidation, according to spokesmen for both offices.
NEWS
November 5, 2008 | By Andrew Maykuth, Cynthia Henry and Mark Fazlollah INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
A staggering turnout of voters flooded polling places across the region yesterday, overwhelming some districts with so many people they had to wait hours after the polls officially closed to cast ballots. But few serious glitches were reported. "I've been at this 31 years, and I've never seen anything like it," said Gov. Rendell, who predicted that turnout levels would surpass that of John F. Kennedy's 1960 election. "It's a good day for America. We should be very proud. " With nearly all the ballots counted last night, almost 61 percent of Philadelphia's 1.1 million voters cast ballots yesterday - well short of 1960, when the city recorded an 89 percent turnout.
NEWS
October 29, 2008 | By Mario F. Cattabiani INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In a case that a state lawyer called a "tempest in a T-shirt," a Commonwealth Court judge will soon decide whether to bar voters from wearing political items such as hats and campaign buttons inside polling places. Judge Robert Simpson Jr. heard an hour of arguments yesterday in a suit brought by two Pittsburgh-area elections officials that asks the court to force each of the state's 67 counties to ban so-called passive electioneering. At the heart of the issue is an early September letter sent by Pennsylvania Department of State officials to the 67 county election boards.
NEWS
October 27, 2008 | By Cynthia Henry INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
As hundreds of thousands of newly registered voters in Pennsylvania and New Jersey prepare to cast ballots in the presidential election, poll watchers are worried. Will the record numbers overwhelm precinct workers? Will long lines or machine breakdowns frustrate voters and force them to walk away? Do counties have enough oversight to ensure that no votes are lost through technological or human error? "We haven't done what we should since 2000 to make [the system]
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