Philadelphia write-in candidate: I won with one vote

Philadelphia write-in candidate: I won with one vote

A Philadelphia resident was shocked to receive a letter Friday saying they won an election earlier in the month — apparently because no one else cast a vote.

"I literally yelled 'what the hell' when I opened the letter," Phillip Garcia told The Hill. "I've written my name in a few times during elections when no one else is listed for a position. It's just been a thing I do, with no expectation of, like, actually making an impact on the vote."

Garcia, editor-at-large of The Rumpus and a Temple University Ph.D. candidate, tweeted Friday that the city had informed them of being elected as an election judge to serve on a board for Ward 21, Division 10 of the city, which covers parts of the Manayunk neighborhood.

"They say that one vote doesn't matter, but I literally wrote in my own name and won an election because I guess no-one else ran/voted for this position," Garcia tweeted Friday.

ADVERTISEMENT

The city's election results website shows Garcia's new position as being won by a write-in candidate, with no name listed and three votes in the category. Garcia said two other candidates wrote their names on the ballot as well, but were likely declared ineligible to serve.

Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt confirmed Garcia's victory and vote total (1) in an interview Saturday, and said that many election judge positions are filled the same way.
 
"Frequently, candidates do not file petitions to have their names appear on the ballot, so that's when we see write-in votes being decisive," Schmidt told The Hill. 
 
"A winner is the candidate who received the most write-in votes."
 
Schmidt added that a total of 192 election judge positions were filled by write-in candidates in the Nov. 7 election.

Garcia said they were not informed of the victory until Dec. 1, almost a month after the Nov. 7 election.

"Part of me still feels like this is a mistake or prank," Garcia added.

Alongside the certificate, Garcia received a letter, dated Nov. 28, informing them that Garcia had been "duly elected to a four-year term for a board worker position in the office and precinct listed in the enclosed certificate." The letter is signed by the city's acting supervisor of elections, Kevin Kelly.

A judge of election typically runs their local voting place on election days. To appear on the ballot, a candidate must file a petition with the city containing 10 signatures — but no signatures are required to mount a write-in campaign.

Judges in the city are paid $100 per election they preside over, and the only requirements are to be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age and a resident of the division in which the position presides over.

Garcia is hopeful that the position will allow for pursuing progressive goals for the district through community organizing.

Garcia also tweeted, "My first act as an elected official is to call for the impeachment of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE and also now every Tuesday in Manayunk is officially Taco Tuesday."

"This actually will be a great way for me to be more involved in my neighborhood and work actively toward more progressive change," Garcia told The Hill.

"I actually have a background in community organizing, and while I'm not entirely sure how this position could align with that, it seems like an opportunity to find some ways to at least more deeply connect with my neighbors," Garcia continued.

Garcia's term begins in 2018, with the position's first official duties being next year's primary elections in May.