Vote Early Vote Often, Memories South Philly’s 2nd Ward

Vote Early Vote Often, Memories South Philly’s 2nd Ward

By Bob Small

This was probably around 1989, when I was visiting my old South Philly apartment-mate, having recently moved up and out to Swarthmore. On the way to the local dinery, we ran into a D Committee Person who asked if I was voting today, Election Day.

“Joe, I don’t live here anymore”

“Bob, I didn’t ask you that”

Vote Early Vote Often, Memories South Philly's 2nd Ward

This was back in the wild and wooly days of South Philly D Politics, where the 2nd Ward Meetings would end with the admonition to “vote early and often”.

Said as a joke. I think. The big names were Vince Fumo, Joe Tayoun, and Joe Vignola. Maybe you heard of them. Quite sure the same jiggery-pokery never happens with R’s in Delco.

If elected, the Greens would never engage in this. Not sure about the Libertarians.

In Swarthmore, at the 2005 Primary, I went in to vote on a Ballot Question, as befits a Green Party member. However, the Judge of Elections tried to refuse to let me vote as I was neither D nor R. As this Ballot Question would involve higher taxes, I asked whether I would be exempt from these taxes as I was denied my vote.

When that didn’t work, I stated I would sit on his election table, as I had sat in at various protests, until I was physically removed or allowed to vote. Wanting to avoid a scene, he allowed me to cast a ballot. What he should have done, if he was unsure of the law — imagine a judge not knowing the law — was to let me have a Provisional ballot.

Later that year, in my only foray into electoral politics, I ran against him, as a Green, and lost, but felt vindicated.

My story ended up being shared state wide among the third parties of the time,
so this particular slight, denial of the right to vote, could never happen again.

I had a running mate in that election, who ran as both a Green and a Republican,
for the Wallingford Swarthmore School Board. She lost, of course, but won the next year as a Democrat. Her name is Mary Gay Scanlon. I often wonder what happened to her.

Memories South Philly’s 2nd Ward

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