Primary Turnout is the Real Philadelphia Story

As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the most encouraging estimates are that turnout in Philadelphia’s mayoral race will be in the “200,000s or low 300,000s.” Based on competitiveness and Democratic registration advantage in the city, we can assume most of those votes will be cast in the Democratic primary, and split between four to five competitive candidates.

After reading this, I wanted some hard numbers on eligible voters in the city. The only easily available number is the number of registered Democrats in Philadelphia: 775,596 according to the Pennsylvania Department of State. The total number of registered voters in Philadelphia is 1,025,223, according to the same source. Using those numbers, I estimate that Philadelphia’s next Mayor is likely to have been decided by about 5-8% of the city’s registered voters–and that is probably an optimistic projection (one that is fairly close to the estimate offered by the political consultant quoted in the Inquirer).

The Philadelphia Inquirer concludes:

“If the total number of votes the nominee gets falls below 100,000 — a real possibility — that would be the lowest winning raw vote total since at least the 1970s and would represent less than 10% of all registered voters, according to an Inquirer analysis of past election data.”

I hate to say it but Philadelphia needs rank choice voting.

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