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May 19, 2015

It's Primary Day in Pa., and polls are open till 8 p.m.

In Philly, races include mayor and City Council, plus ballot questions

UPDATE: Jim Kenney wins Democratic Primary for Mayor. Click here for the story. 

Voters head to the polls Tuesday to nominate candidates for Philadelphia mayor, City Council and other offices.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and any voter in line by 8 p.m. is permitted to cast a ballot.

LIVE: Primary Day coverage

Only registered Democrats or Republicans are eligible to vote for candidates in the May primary. But all voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote on the four ballot questions.

Here's the most recent results for the Democratic Primary for Mayor from the Office of the Philadelphia City Commissioners:

  • Difficulty casting your ballot? Call the district attorney's Election Fraud Task Force at (215) 686-9641, 9643 or 9644
  • Questions about the election or voting process? Go to or call 1-855-SEVENTY
  • Find your polling place
  • Build your own ballot
  • The League of Women Voters' non-partisan guide to statewide judicial races (pdf)

With Mayor Michael Nutter limited to two terms, he will end his tenure later this year. Seeking to succeed him are Democrats Lynne Abraham, Nelson Diaz, Jim Kenney, Doug Oliver, Milton Street Jr. and Anthony Williams. On the Republican side, Melissa Murray Bailey is uncontested.


All 17 City Council seats are on the ballot, with competitive races in two districts.

In the 2nd Council District, which includes parts of Center City, South Philadelphia as well as Point Breeze, Democratic incumbent Kenyatta Johnson faces a feisty challenge from developer Ori Feibush.

In the 7th Council District, which covers parts of North Philadelphia, including Hunting Park and Frankford, incumbent Maria Quiñones-Sánchez is challenged by Manny Morales, a Democratic committeeperson who has the party's backing.

Sixteen Democratic candidates and seven Republican candidates are contesting seven at-large seats on City Council. Voters in each party can vote for five candidates. At least two Republicans are guaranteed seats.

Voters will also nominate candidates for City Commission, sheriff, register of wills and several municipal and state judgeships.

In Northeast Philadelphia, the 5th District State Senate seat was left vacant when Sen. Mike Stack resigned in January to become lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. Democrat John Sabatina Jr. will face off Tuesday against Republican Tim Dailey in a special election to fill the seat. Any registered voter who lives in the district, regardless of party affiliation, is eligible to vote.


Four questions will appear on city ballots. All voters can vote "Yes" or "No" on the following four questions:

#1. Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to call upon the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Governor to abolish the School Reform Commission and return local control of Philadelphia’s schools?

This is a non-binding referendum calling on the state government to return public schools to local control.

#2. Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide for the creation of a Commission for Women to be charged with promoting civic, educational and economic policies for women and providing advice and recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on policies and programs that advance equal rights and opportunities for women in the City?

This proposed amendment to the Home Rule Charter would establish a new independent city commission, the “Commission for Women," to exercise advisory powers and duties with respect to the mayor and Council on issues that affect women.

#3. Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to require all City agencies to prepare, and comply with, plans to promote access to City services, compliance with City law and ease of contact with, and participation within, City government for people with limited English proficiency?

Currently, all city agencies reporting to the mayor must develop Language Access Plans designed to improve access to services for people with limited English proficiency and facilitate their participation in government. As proposed, the Charter change would require all city agencies, whether they report to the mayor or not, to develop and carry out such plans.

#4. Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide for the creation, appointment, powers and duties of an independent Commission on Universal Pre-Kindergarten which would recommend an implementation and funding plan for achieving universal high quality pre-kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds in Philadelphia without taking away funds used for existing education?

This proposed amendment to the Home Rule Charter would create a new Commission on Universal Pre-Kindergarten to develop implementation and funding plans to provide high quality pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds in the city.


On Monday, Seth Williams, district attorney of Philadelphia, and David Thornburgh, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, reminded Philadelphians to vote Tuesday and call the DA's Election Fraud Task Force at (215) 686-9641, 9643 or 9644 if they experience any difficulty casting their ballot.

“We don’t anticipate any problems on Election Day, but if there are, we are ready to respond,” Williams said. “...we will have more than 60 assistant district attorneys and several dozen detectives that can be quickly deployed throughout the City of Philadelphia. They will also be ready to not only answer the calls that come into our hotline but to respond, in many cases in person, to any allegations of voting irregularities or polling place issues.”

Thornburgh said voters with questions about the election or voting process can visit or call the organization at 1-855-SEVENTY. Trained volunteers will be available to answer calls throughout Election Day.

The Committee of Seventy will also be launching a program that will place 250 city high school students at polling places to help answer voters’ questions and learn something about the election process. Students in the Election Ambassador Corps will have the opportunity to submit ideas about how to improve the voting process or increase turnout.