It is 8 p.m. and the polls have closed in the 2023 primary election in Philadelphia. Results for local races will start coming in, and Patch will be providing live updates throughout the night. All votes, including those cast via mail and in ballot drop boxes, have been counted.
Philadelphia voters went to the polls Tuesday to nominate 27 candidates for five at-large seats on City Council, a competitive race that will determine the balance of power in City Hall alongside the next mayor. Real estate industry players helped finance a slate of candidates they hope will bring a more business-friendly posture back to Council after years of clashing with progressive lawmakers over issues like development and affordable housing.
Progressive groups backed their own slate, hoping to build on the leftward momentum that has led to new city laws in recent years around worker protections, tenants' rights, and police accountability. The primary comes amid extraordinary turnover on Council, with resignations and retirements creating a power vacuum in the city’s 17-member legislature.
While Democratic nominees are shoe-ins in the general election, the five Republican winners will run against tough competition from the progressive Working Families Party for control of two large seats reserved for minority parties. The left-leaning party already clawed away one of those seats with historic election of Councilmember Kendra Brooks in 2019.
The most expensive mayoral primary campaign ever seen was held this year as well; it's an extraordinarily competitive race among several Democratic candidates which could end up making electoral history. On Tuesday evening turnout was so high that between 25% and 30% of registered voters had cast ballots either by mail or voting stations according to estimates provided by sixtysixwards - an organization tracking voter turnout data throughout Pennsylvania.
However some polling-place switches clearly angered/confused some voters resulting into lower overall numbers than expected: “I got here at my usual polling place, but it was closed. I had to find another location and wait in line there,” said voter Jane Smith.
For Philly voters crime was a big reason behind their choices for mayor. The race was dominated by the absence of the current mayor who seemed to be barely mentioned throughout campaign season; instead contenders focused primarily on how they would approach public safety issues plaguing city streets today while also addressing social inequities within Philadelphia's communities.
As results continue rolling in tonight, Philadelphians anxiously await what will unfold in this historic election as candidates vie for powerful positions within City Hall including Mayorship - one thing is certain though: change appears imminent regardless of which party ultimately wins control over council chambers come November 2023 general elections.