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28,000 City Voter Applications Unprocessed

Seventy Urges Immediate Help from Elected Officials
PHILADELPHIA October 25, 2012 The non-partisan Committee of Seventy today
again urged Philadelphias top elected officials Mayor Michael Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clarke and City Controller Alan Butkovitz use their influence and resources to help eliminate the backlog of 28,000 unprocessed voter registration applications. The city commissioners promised to fix this problem and they havent, said Zack Stalberg, the President and CEO of Seventy, the citys elections watchdog. At the current pace, many people who submitted timely applications to vote wont be registered until days or possibly weeks after the presidential election. Thats unacceptable. No one should have to wonder if they are properly registered to vote on November 6. Seventy first called attention to the backlog problem in an October 11 letter to the city commissioners. At its October 17 public meeting, where they announced 41,000 unprocessed voter registration applications, the commissioners said the backlog would be minimal, if not entirely eliminated, by their next public meeting on October 24. However, on October 24, there were still 28,000 unprocessed applications. A Seventy representative was told after the October 24 meeting that the backlog would disappear by Sunday, October 28. In its October 11 letter to the commissioners, Seventy offered to recruit volunteers to assist in processing voter registration applications. Alternatively, Seventy urged the commissioners to hire additional temporary workers and further called on Mayor Nutter

and Council President Clarke to provide the funds necessary to get the job done on time. City Controller Butkovitz was also copied on the letter. In an October 12 response to Stalberg, City Commissioners Stephanie Singer, Anthony Clark and Al Schmidt turned down the offer, saying they were prepared to harness extra manpower to ensure that [e[very eligible Philadelphian who submitted a valid, complete voter registration form by the deadline of October 9, 2012, will be registered to vote and will be listed in the poll books on November 6. The commissioners also promised in their October 12 response to notify by mail every Philadelphian with a valid postal address who submitted an incomplete or otherwise invalid voter registration form no later than October 26. Stalberg said it is unknown how many incomplete or invalid applications are included in the 28,000 backlog or, once these applications are processed, whether the registrants will be able to correct their applications in time to vote on November 6. At yesterdays meeting, Commissioner Chair Singer blamed a sluggish state voter computer system for the slow pace of processing the voter registration applications. Stalberg renewed Seventys offer to immediately recruit volunteers to help eliminate the backlog and urged Mayor Nutter, Council President Clarke and City Controller Butkovitz to get personally involved in resolving the issue. Whether the answer is more city staff, Seventy volunteers, more funds or some other solution no one has thought of yet, the backlog must go away now, Stalberg concluded. The election is 12 days away. 28,000 people are still waiting to be declared eligible to vote. Every day counts.

The Committee of Seventy is a non-partisan organization fighting for fair elections. Comprehensive information about Seventy and the 2012 elections can be found at

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