What to know as you head to the polls for today's primary election in Philadelphia

The polls will be open today until 8 p.m.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Philadelphia voters head to polls for primary election
Philadelphia voters head to polls for primary election. Beccah Hendrickson reports for Action News on May 16, 2023.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Voters in Philadelphia are determining who will likely lead the nation's sixth-largest city in a crowded field of Democratic candidates on Tuesday, as the city faces upticks in gun violence and quality-of-life issues that make people feel unsafe.

The Philadelphia race serves as the latest barometer of how residents of some of the nation's largest cities hope to emerge from the pandemic, which heightened concerns about crime, poverty and inequality.

Philadelphia voters will choose between front-runner candidates including former council members Allan Domb, Helen Gym and Cherelle Parker; former city controller Rebecca Rhynhart; and political outsider and grocer Jeff Brown. They are vying to replace Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, who is term-limited.

Only one Republican, former city council member David Oh, is running. He and the Democratic nominee will face each other in the Nov. 7 general election. Because Philadelphia is heavily Democratic, it is likely that whoever wins the primary will become the next mayor.

The candidates have pledged to tackle the city's violence and crime, and address the rampant quality-of-life issues, but how they plan to get there varies.

Here's information you need to know as you head to the polls:

POLLING PLACES

You can find your nearest polling location here.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

If you are trying to confirm your registration or learn about registering to vote, click here.

The City of Philadelphia also posted step-by-step instructions on how to use the voting machines.

VOTING ID

Pennsylvania law requires voters who are new to their voting division (precinct) to show ID the first time they vote there.

After that, an ID is not required to vote.

There are many types of photo and non-photo IDs that can be used to fulfill this requirement.

Acceptable forms of ID for voters who are new to a division can be found here.

REPORT PROBLEMS

The city of Philadelphia has a hotline for residents to report problems while voting.

The number to call is 215-686-VOTE.

MAIL-IN VOTING

For those who have registered for mail-in voting, ballots need to be received by the County Board of Elections no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

You can submit your ballot in the mail, in person at the County Board of Elections Office, or by using an official drop box.

To find an official drop box near you, click here.

Election offices and mail-in drop-off locations can also be found here.

Officials say that if you are suffering an illness or physical injury that would prevent you from handing in your ballot, you may be able to have someone else deliver it for you.

To fill out that application, click here.

The mail-in ballots will start being counted at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. So far, about 60,000 ballots have been received in Philadelphia, with around 30,000 still outstanding.

MAIL-IN/ABSENTEE BALLOT PROBLEMS

As of May 13, more than 1,700 ballots have been mailed in or dropped off with issues that could prevent them from being counted, officials said.

More than 1,700 ballots have been mailed in or dropped off with issues that could prevent them from being counted, Philadelphia officials said.

Officials said 72 of the ballots have no signature, 1,307 have no date, 143 do not have their secrecy envelope and 182 have potential data problems. Please CLICK HERE to see if you are on one of these lists.

It is strongly advised that the voters on these lists request a replacement ballot at the County Board of Elections office in City Hall Room 140 on Election Day from 9:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. to avoid the potential rejection of their ballot.

Voters unable to travel to the Board's office due to a disability may authorize a designated agent pick up a replacement ballot and/or return a completed ballot using the Designated Agent Form.

THE CANDIDATES

The latest polls released by Emerson College and Nexstar show Helen Gym in the lead with 21% of likely voters, followed by Cherelle Parker (18.2%) and Rebecca Rhynhart (17.7%).

All three were within the poll's margin of error with is 3.9%.

Allan Domb (13.6%) and Jeff Brown (10.4%) have slipped in the polling in recent weeks. However, 15% of voters were still undecided according to the poll.

Many candidates made a final campaign push over the weekend ahead of Election Day.

Gym and Parker both held "get out the vote" rallies, with Gym's featuring U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Rhynhart held a door knocking event in Center City and Domb went diner to diner to meet potential voters. Brown handed out Mother's Day flowers on Sunday.

Turnout on Tuesday will be crucial for the candidates running to be the Democratic nominee, and likely the next mayor of Philadelphia.

OTHER PHILADELPHIA RACES

- Council-at-Large & City Council: 7th District, 8th District, 9th District

- Four Ballot Questions

- Philadelphia City Controller

- Philadelphia Sheriff

Check out additional information on these races from the Committee of Seventy.

SPECIAL ELECTION IN DELCO

Voters in Delaware County could determine the balance of power in Harrisburg.

Tuesday's special election will determine who will fill a vacant House seat in Pennsylvania's 163rd House District.

Democrat Heather Boyd, Republican Katie Ford and Libertarian Alfe Goodwin are seeking to replace Rep. Mike Zabel to represent House District 163.

Former Democratic state representative Mike Zabel resigned from his seat in March following claims of sexual harassment.

The special election is open to any registered voter in that district.

REGISTRATION, DEADLINES TO VOTE

May 1 was the last day to register to vote ahead of the upcoming election, and May 9 was the last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot.

Find your voter registration status here.

You can apply for mail-in voting online, anytime by clicking here.

The process requires a driver's license, PennDOT ID, or a scanned signature.

If you have not already registered for mail-in voting, it will not be an option for you on Tuesday's election.

The Associated Press contributed to this post.