Better Philly Elections Highlights City Commissioners Race Ahead of May 21 Primary Election

PHILADELPHIA, PA (May 13, 2019) – The Better Philadelphia Elections Coalition (BPEC) is calling on voters to take time before the May 21 Primary Election to carefully consider the numerous offices and candidates on the ballot. From Pennsylvania Superior Court to the Register of Wills, voters will see nine different offices, dozens of candidates and four ballot questions.

Coalition members urge voters to pay special attention to the City Commissioners race, the winners of which are almost certain to serve on the next bipartisan County Board of Elections, responsible for overseeing elections and voter registration citywide. Thirteen Democrats are running for two spots on the general election ballot in November; Republican incumbent Al Schmidt is running unopposed.

To encourage further discussion around issues critical to elections and voting in the city, the Coalition distributed a new five-plank platform this spring. Coalition members believe Philadelphia election officials should be prepared to:

1) Set an overarching vision for city elections and work to advance critical reforms.

2) Safeguard elections from fraud, intimidation and corruption, and ensure the smooth deployment of new voting systems.

3) Guarantee access to the ballot for disabled and limited English proficiency voters over and above what is required by law.

4) Effectively recruit, train and compensate the thousands of poll workers citywide.

5) Collaborate with other government agencies to implement nonpartisan, evidence-based voter engagement programs.

See responses to the 2019 BPEC Platform from the following candidates:

The following candidates did not respond:

  • Lewis Harris, Jr. (D)

  • Omar Sabir (D)

  • Al Schmidt (R)

  • Annette Thompson (D)

  • Robin Trent (D)

Democratic voters are eligible to vote for up to two of the above Democratic candidates, and Republicans for up to two Republican candidates in the primary election (although only one is on the ballot). Write-in votes are also allowed in both primary and general elections.

Although voters face a substantial challenge in casting a fully-informed ballot on Election Day due to the large number of offices and candidates, the Better Philadelphia Elections Coalition strongly encourages civic, community and political leaders, the press and voters across the city to weigh the issues related to elections and the voting process -- the solutions these candidates offer in their agendas.

For additional information about the City Commissioner candidates and the 2019 primary election, visit the Coalition’s new website at: Follow the coalition on Facebook at:

Patrick Christmas