Campaigns & Elections

Philadelphia officials open first of 10 new election offices in Philadelphia

All new election offices are set to be operational by the November election

Philadelphia City officials open the first of 10 new satellite election offices on Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Philadelphia City officials open the first of 10 new satellite election offices on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 Harrison Cann

Philadelphia officials had one overarching message to convey at the opening of the first of 10 new election offices Tuesday morning: Make elections accessible. 

Mayor Cherelle Parker, joined by Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt, city commissioners and local officials, said it was only fitting for the “birthplace of democracy” to demonstrate its commitment to fair and accessible elections. 

“This is where we should be leading as the example of what a fair, just, transparent, and accessible election process should look like,” Parker said Tuesday. “All of the eyes of the country – if not the world – were on Philadelphia in 2020. I think we’re going to see something similar, if not even more intense, this election cycle.”

Each of the city’s 10 city council districts will have its own satellite election office. The first election office, located at 4029 Market St. in the 3rd district, is open and operational, with the remaining nine set to be open by the general election on Nov. 5. The offices will be an informational resource for voters and allow them to register to vote, request a mail-in ballot in person and return it to the same location. 

Omar Sabir, chair of the city commissioners, touched on the history of individuals like Octavius Catto, a civil rights activist who was killed during Election Day violence in the city in 1871. 

“If we think about people like Catto, Medgar Evers and Dr. Martin Luther King – people who were assassinated or killed for making (it possible) for African Americans to vote – and the opening here in the 6th Ward as our starting point, it’s very significant,” Sabir, a Democrat, said. 

Republican City Commissioner Seth Bluestein echoed the importance of this year’s elections, adding that the city is committed to ensuring the elections are “fair, secure and accessible for everyone.” 

“That is not a Democratic value or a Republican value; it’s an American value,” Bluestein said. Bluestein noted that the 10 locations are being selected based on their accessibility to public transit and proximity to commercial corridors. Lease negotiations are taking place for the other locations, he said, with the goal of having the satellite offices up and running before ballots are mailed out for the November election. 

“We received additional appropriations from City Council as well as (retaining) the ability to use the state’s election integrity grant for other purposes, such as poll workers and election security, which frees up more funding for the satellite election offices,” Bluestein told City & State. “Bringing resources and voter accessibility to the communities that we represent is extremely important. And I hope that the other counties see this model and will open up additional satellite election offices in their own counties in locations where they see a need for those resources.”