Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Taking a Look at Philadelphia's Wards

Philadelphia's Wards:

Philadelphia's smallest level of elected offices are its ward leaders.  Wards play a principle role during elections as its leaders receive and distribute street money from each party's campaign funds.  Ward leaders also perform other roles behind the scenes that allow them to serve vital functions within the political system.

Within each ward are further subdivisions called Ward Divisions.  Why is this important?  During each primary voters choose who their candidates will be for various offices.  However voters also choose their representatives, committee persons, within each ward division.  The ward division committees get together before the general election and choose by vote who the leader for that ward will be.  Each ward has two ward leaders, one for each party. So if you are a Republican or Democrat, you will elect your own committee person for your party.  In 2014 the ward committees were elected in the May primaries and they subsequently elected their leaders for each ward in June of 2014. 

How easy is it to get elected as a ward division leader?  Sometimes it can be incredibly easy.  In the 2014 primary a number of divisions elected a committee person through just 1 vote, that contained a write-in candidate.  That's it.  One person walked into the polls, wrote their name on a piece of paper and got elected to something.

The second map below tracks those who were elected via write-in.   These candidates either wrote themselves in themselves and were elected or had a few others write their names in as well to win.

Below is a map of all the districts and highlighted in red are the ward divisions that elected their leader by just 25 votes or less.  If you could grab 25 friends or supporters and walk into a poll on primary day, you'd have a shot at being elected to participate in Philadelphia's political process.

58th ward (in the far northeastern corner of the city boundary) was the leading division that had the most write-ins and 18 out of its 34 divisions elected committee persons with 25 votes or less.

If you wanted to get started with being involved behind the scenes of the Philadelphia political process, grab some friends during the primary and write-yourself in.