Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Capozzi's challenge affirms claims of voter fraud

Today, Daily News reporter Chris Brennan reported that Barbra Capozzi (D - South Philly) is challenging her close loss in the 2nd District City Council primary election to State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson.  Capozzi asserts that "widespread irregularities" in the 2nd District race "compromised the election so severely that the results cannot be trusted to reflect the will of the Democratic voters."  At the center of Ms. Capozzi's the claim is a Philadelphia City Commission employee who unlawfully instructed poll workers in some parts of the district to cover up or remove the name of attorney Damon Roberts, who withdrew from the race just before election day but too late to have his name removed from the ballot.  Roberts collected 319 votes, which were not counted.  Capozzi claims he would have collected thousands more votes if his name were not covered in some polling places.  The challenge also asserts a racial backroom political deal between Kenyatta Johnson, Roberts and third-place candidateTracey Gordon.  Capozzi's challenge claims that Rep. Johnson repeatedly urged Roberts to drop out to make "a concerted effort to secure his spot on the ballot as the only black candidate in the race".

The Second District population is approximately 49 percent African American and 35 White.  This challenge shows the kind of back-room dealing that manipulates the free electorate, and makes it hard for non-machine candidates to succeed in the primary system. 

Philadelphians for Ethical Leadership and Philly Decline were both reporting similar, non-racial activity within the Republican Mayoral Primary, where a backroom deal between RCC Chairman Vito Canuso and General Counsel Mike Meehan put Karen Brown, an unqualified former schoolteacher and former city administrative employee in the race for Mayor, challenging candidate John Featherman who had been a declared candidate since June, 2010.  Ms. Brown edged Mr. Featherman in the primary by a mere 57 votes, all of which came from the last 4% of counting; amid multiple reports of irregularities involving RCC Committeemen and Parking Authority employees who were told to switch their shifts so they could work at polling places for Brown.

Also reported heavily in the Philadelphia media was another backdoor meeting between Congressmen Bob Brady, Councilman Frank DiCicco, and IBEW local 98 head John Dougherty to "anoint" Mark Squila as the next 1st District City Councilman.  Despite heavy competition from Vern Anastasio, Mark grace, and Jeff Hornstien; Mr. Squila won in a landslide...partially because of the scores of IBEW electricians who, instead of working on training or building activities, mobilized at polling places throughout Philadelphia. 

The moral of the story, ladies and gentlemen, is that the outrageously low voter turnout seen in the last municipal election was a sign of just how disenchanted voters are with the electoral process.  Many people who appear at meetings and debates have expressed a belief that the system is "fixed" and that honest candidates have no chance of beating the machine with an endless stream of money and manpower.

The election of Al Schmidt and Stephanie Singer will help to stop the kinds of irregularities mentioned in the Capozzi challenge, but will fall short of addressing the imbalance of a political machine that runs the city on a 6:1 ratio, and voters that cast ballots based on what their union, minister, or employer tell them...as opposed to doing what's right for the city they reside in.     

No comments:

Post a Comment