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Primary voters head to polls across Philadelphia today to weigh in on their parties’ nominees for political office and some voting questions.

General assessment: The weather is beautiful, the queues are short and dogs are out.

This is also the first election where the city has provided all materials in Mandarin, including “I Voted” stickers.

It hasn’t all been easy. Some polling stations faced staff confusion amid a citywide shortage of election workers. A leading statewide candidate had to vote by emergency ballot because of COVID, and another had a pacemaker installed. Elsewhere, signs urging people to vote out an incumbent Philadelphia state representative have been ruled illegal.

We won’t know how turnout compares to previous years before the polls close, but in general, Philadelphians show up to express their support for issues that matter to them. Here’s how Philadelphia’s 2022 primary election day unfolded.

What brings people to the polls

Abortion rights, climate justice, political division and LGBTQ+ rights are among the issues Philadelphians told Billy Penn as they headed to the polls.

A voter in Washington Square West told Billy Penn he wanted to vote in the primary because ‘our country is so divided and full of hate… In all my years, I’ve never seen our country like this’ .

In Queen Village, voter Vicky Borgia said she is still voting, but this time around she is particularly keen to stop Mehmet Oz from representing her in the US Senate because the Republican favorite “doesn’t live here”.

East Falls’ Colleen McFadden said she was initially motivated to vote in the primary because of the US Senate seat left vacant by Pat Toomey’s retirement, as it presents Democrats with an opportunity to do an about-face . But the recent Supreme Court leak has given him another reason to come out.

“More recently, I’ve been really, really worried about abortion rights, so now maybe the governor is at the forefront of my mind,” McFadden said.

Another East Falls voter who said he was neither a Democrat nor a registered Republican came just to vote on all four ballot questions and expressed frustration at not being able to weigh in on any of the political races.

“When you are declared independent, you cannot vote in these elections, which is a bit of a mess because we pay them anyway,” they said. said Billy Penn. “I’m here to get my money’s worth.”

Pennsylvania is one of nine US states with totally closed primaries, although there is currently a Committee of 70 initiative that hopes to see this change.

The shortage of poll workers affects several places

The day got off to a somewhat hectic start at Thomas Mifflin School in East Falls, as some voters waited while poll workers searched for and set up their ballots. A few workers canceled at the last minute, a committee member said. But at 7:10 a.m., early voters were able to get to their machines and the line quickly dissipated.

Hancock Leisure Center in South Kensington also had to scramble early in the morning due to staffing issues. The location did not have a designated person to serve as an election judge, some documents were missing, said Kristin Harkins, who has worked on the ballot since 2020 and pledged to take the lead.

About 22 people showed up in what was supposed to be the first hour of voting, Democratic committee members told Billy Penn, and had to wait. The proper gear arrived just after 7:20 a.m., according to committee member Janay Green, and things were ready by 8 a.m. – but others have left.

Similar issues – also related to staffing – occurred at two polling stations in Harrowgate, the Inquirer reported.

Finding poll workers can be difficult. As of 6:44 p.m. Monday, the municipal commissioners were always looking for more people work at the polls.

A Kensington election worker encouraged others to register for future elections. And it’s not even a volunteer opportunity, she says — it’s paid work. And you might also be surprised who is eligible: In South Philadelphia, a 17-year-old would be an election judge.

First year with Chinese translation

This year’s primary election marks the first time that Chinese translations for voting materials have been required. Some polling stations even had their “I voted” stickers also printed in Mandarin.

A voter told Billy Penn his voting machine did not show translations for voting matters, and a poll worker said so did not translate the questions very well. If Philadelphia wants to be a multilingual city, said one Pennsport voter, “you better be prepared to have all languages ​​appear.”

Alternatives to pandemic-era stickers?

Many polling places had stickers available in different languages ​​— Philly’s design received an honorable mention from the United States Election Assistance Commission — but at least one had a little different voting memento: COVID testing home.

Don’t despair if your polling station didn’t hand them out — the feds just did another round of free COVID tests yesterday. You can have eight mailed to your home via USPS at covidtests.gov.

Illegal posters are confiscated

The Philadelphia Elections Court confiscated signs printed and posted by an unknown person or group expressing opposition to Pennsylvania Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, the Inquirer reported.

The signs were put up near at least four polling places in Fiedler’s district. They portray Fiedler with District Attorney Larry Krasner, saying the South Philly Rep” and her “performative” activists are “ALL TALK AND NO ACTION” when it comes to gun violence in Philadelphia.

The posters say they are “printed internally by democrats against egotists”. But the group is reportedly not registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State, which means posters are not permitted.

Progressive incumbent Fiedler (a former WHYY reporter) is running against Michael Giangiordano II, a real estate agent who said he was inspired to run against Fiedler because he thinks she cares too much about “the issues of Twitter” and “issues of performative criminal justice activism”.

In other candidate news

Two Democratic candidates did not attend any campaign events today, for health reasons.

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running uncontested for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, has tested positive for COVID. He will self-isolate at home until next week, according to his campaign, which said Shapiro used an emergency mail-in ballot to vote.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman will also not be seen at campaign events today – he is still recovering from a stroke he suffered over the weekend. On Tuesday afternoon, his campaign announced he was set to have a pacemaker installed to “treat the underlying cause of his stroke”.

Some other statewide candidates circled Philadelphia today.

Malcolm Kenyatta, current member of the Pa. House of Philadelphia and candidate for the United States Senate, vote at his polling place at the Berean Institute in North Philadelphia.

Austin Davis, candidate for lieutenant governor and current member of the Pa. House, made an appearance at a polling place in Brewerytown, where he high-fived a young child whom he dubbed ‘the ‘Philadelphia Sticker Chief Officer’.