On Saturday, Pride at the Polls, a grassroots, community-led initiative encouraging LGBTQ people and their allies to vote, hosted a tabling event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. outside City Hall near South Broad Street.
About a dozen volunteers came out dressed in rainbow-colored clothing and accessories as they helped people register to vote and showed support for the LGBTQ community.
Paul Blore, 38, a meeting services specialist who lives on Broad Street near Tasker, helped organize the event for the first time in Philadelphia in conjunction with a Pride at the Polls event in Austin, Texas.
“It’s part Pride and part get out the vote campaign,” Blore said. “The first Pride was a celebration of our community, but also a demonstration of our rights and our voices.”
During the tabling event, Blore and other volunteers gave out “Vote PA” posters and voting registration stickers to passersby and voters waiting in line for the City Hall election satellite office and waved Pride flags to cars driving around City Hall.
Drag performers Marsha Pisces and Icon Ebony Fierce also came out to the event, rallying the crowd and leading them in chants.
Jonathan Lovitz, 36, a small business and public policy advocate who lives near 12th and Walnut streets, co-founded PhillyVoting.org, a nonpartisan voter registration project, and teamed up with Pride at the Polls to encourage more LGBTQ Philadelphians to vote.
“I believe everyone should vote for those who have said their voice doesn’t matter, doesn’t count,” Lovitz said. “Philadelphia is filled with so many communities who have been historically told they’re less than worthy of full participation in America, so it’s our obligation to show up for them.”
Eric Sanford, 30, a sixth-year medical student at University of Pennsylvania who lives on 21st Street near Fitzwater, found out about the event through his friends and saw it advertised on Facebook. Sanford came to drop off his mail-in ballot at City Hall.
“It’s important to see each other voting, especially right now, when everyone’s been isolated for so long and to remember that we have a community, and that community is strong,” Sanford said.