The Temple News’ guide to the 2019 general election

Candidates, ballot questions and polling locations: Here’s what you need to know before you vote today.

Philadelphia City Hall, the meeting place of Philadelphia City Council, seen from the intersection of Broad and Market streets on Nov. 3. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Today marks the general election for hundreds of local government officials across Pennsylvania. 

Philadelphia voters will have access to new voting machines that use paper ballots, WHYY reported. It’s part of an estimated $150 million upgrade of machines across the state that is expected to be finalized before April 2020. 

City Council President Darrell Clarke is running unopposed. The Democrat, who was first elected in 2000, represents the 5th District, which encompasses much of Main Campus. 

Here’s what voters in the Temple area need to know on Election Day:

How do I vote?

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., according to the Office of the Philadelphia City Commissioners. If you are in line before polls close, you can still vote.

To find out where to vote, visit or call 215-686-1590. 

If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote, visit There is no same-day registration.

Voters will not need to show any form of identification unless they are voting in a new polling place or for the first time, Billy Penn reported. 

Mayor’s Race

Here is a list of the mayoral candidates.

Jim Kenney (Incumbent, Democrat) 

Kenney won 2015’s mayoral primary in a landslide, championing LGBTQ rights, immigration reform and marijuana decriminalization, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Soon after taking office, City Council passed his signature “soda tax,” which taxes sugary drinks at 1.5 cents an ounce and has raised $191.7 million in revenue in two-and-a-half years, the Inquirer reported. The tax is controversial and is facing legislative challenges in Council and the state legislature.

Billy Ciancaglini (Republican)

The 2003 Beasley School of Law alumnus grew up in Philadelphia and has worked as a criminal defense lawyer for 16 years, Philly Voice reported. He is in favor of repealing the soda tax, ending Philadelphia’s status as a “sanctuary city,” which is defined by local law enforcement’s refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and opposes the construction of supervised injection sites, which are facilities where people can consume recreational drugs under medical supervision, according to his campaign website. 

City Council At-Large

At-large seats are those that are elected by a citywide popular vote, according to the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan government advocacy organization. Because no more than five of the seven at-large seats in City Council can be controlled by one party, at least two are guaranteed to the minority party.

Here’s a list of the at-large candidates.

Kendra Brooks (Working Families Party)

Brooks has worked as a school activist for five years, and is part of Parents United for Public Education and Our City Our Schools, according to her campaign website. Brooks supports an end to the 10-year tax abatement, rent controls, and stricter enforcement of minimum wage laws. She has outraised every Republican candidate in the race, the Inquirer reported, but has been accused of receiving most of her campaign funds from groups outside the city.

Steve Cherniavsky (Term Limits Philadelphia)

Cherniavsky’s platform emphasizes setting enacting term limits for City Council members. He opposes the soda tax, backs a $15 minimum hourly wage and thinks Temple’s proposed football stadium in the planned location would be “inappropriate,” he said. Cherniavsky is “the only candidate running as a true independent, not in line with the progressive or Democratic agenda,” he added.

Sherrie Cohen (A Better Council)

Cohen is making her third run for Council after dropping out before the Democratic primary in April. She wants an immediate end to the tax abatement, opposes the proposed Temple football stadium and said she is “for the soda tax, even though it’s a regressive tax.” Some LGBTQ groups withdrew their endorsements after her campaign manager publicly questioned the ethnicity of competing candidate Deja Lynn Alvarez in March, the Inquirer reported.

Joe Cox (Progressive Independent)

A bike messenger by day, Cox is known for founding PMA, a nonprofit that gives pizza to people experiencing homelessness. Cox decided to run for office after a stranger encouraged him to at a protest against a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center, he said. His top priorities are to make roads safer for cyclists and install more public bathrooms in the city, he said. 

Allan Domb (Incumbent, Democrat)

A real estate magnate and 1978 business and management alumnus, Domb was first elected to City Council in 2015. He came in second with 9.7 percent of the votes in May’s primaries. Domb has suggested that college students should be compelled to perform 100 hours of community service, the Philadelphia Citizen reported. Activists have criticized Domb’s support of the 10-year tax abatement because of his vested interest in the city buildings and tax policies, WHYY reported. 

Derek Green (Incumbent, Democrat)

A 1998 Beasley School of Law alumnus, Green was elected to City Council in 2015 with 15.8 percent of the general election vote after topping the list of primary candidates. Green previously served as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia. He has supported bills that increase penalties for illegal dumping and provide public funding for political campaigns, according to his campaign website. Green voted for the soda tax but now wants to modify it along with the 10-year tax abatement, WHYY reported.

Helen Gym (Incumbent, Democrat)

Gym, who was elected to City Council in 2015, won 15.8 percent of the votes in May’s primary. The founder of Parents United for Public Education has made modernizing public schools the top issue of her campaign. Gym also wants to repeal the 10-year tax abatement and subsidize SEPTA fares for young people, according to her website. She voted in favor of the soda tax. 

Clarc King (Independent)

King is in favor of repealing the soda tax and preventing a supervised safe injection site in the city, according to his Facebook profile. He has been campaigning “for the economic value and rights of the overworked, underpaid, and taxed worker in need of a raise, affordable housing and a tax rebate.” 

Bill Heeney (Republican)

A board member of the United Republican Club in Philadelphia, Heeney won 18.6 percent of the vote in the Republican primaries. He opposes the soda tax and Philadelphia’s status as a sanctuary city, according to his website. Heeney shared bigoted memes on his Facebook profile before running, Billy Penn reported.

David Oh (Incumbent, Republican)

Oh, the first Asian-American elected to office in Philadelphia, served in the military and worked as a lawyer before joining City Council in 2011, according to his website. He hopes to make Philadelphia more attractive to outside businesses by improving local infrastructure, he told The Temple News. His proposed student debt tax credit, which would provide $1,500 a year to recent college graduates, who live in the city, with more than $35,000 in debt, stalled in committee earlier this year.

Nicolas O’Rourke (Working Families Party)

A pastor at the Living Water United Church of Christ in Oxford Circle and a community organizer, O’Rourke is in favor of rent controls and free tuition for college students, he said. Despite having worked with the Stadium Stompers, he has not taken a stance on whether Temple should build its proposed football stadium. O’Rourke said he considers his campaign to be part of an “organizing strategy” for change beyond City Council.

Katherine Gilmore Richardson (Democrat)

Richardson is vice president of Philadelphia Young Democrats and an ex-staffer for Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, according to her website. She favors increasing funds for the Community College of Philadelphia, continuing the soda tax and reforming the 10-year tax abatement. Richardson also wants to create a program that would give students who participate in trash cleaning efforts credit toward graduation. 

Al Taubenberger (Incumbent, Republican)

Taubenberger was president of Philadelphia’s Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce for 23 years. He secured a City Council seat in 2015 by a margin of less than 400 votes. He wants to reduce SEPTA fares and reform the 10-year tax abatement, according to his website. He also opposes the soda tax. 

Dan Tinney (Republican)

A 2005 business logistics and international business alumnus of Pennsylvania State University, Tinney grew up in Philadelphia and is a member of the Steamfitters Local 420, which represents 10 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. After topping both incumbents in the Republican primary, Tinney is headed into the general election on a platform that includes support for the 10-year tax abatement, trade schools and spending cuts, according to his website. 

Isaiah Thomas (Democrat)

Thomas first ran for City Council when he was 26. Now, 34, winning a seat would make him the youngest City Council member. Thomas wants to implement a $15 minimum hourly wage, amend the 10-year tax abatement and repeal or alter the soda tax.

Maj Toure (Libertarian) 

The founder of Black Guns Matter and a rapper, Maj Toure is proud of having grown up in Philadelphia, he said. Toure wants to revise the 10-year tax abatement and repeal gun control legislation. He also opposes the proposed Temple football stadium, he said. 

Matt Wolfe (Republican)

Wolfe, a former deputy attorney general under ex-Governor Tom Ridge, is a member of West Philadelphia’s Chamber of Commerce among other community organizations, according to his website. He opposes Temple’s proposed football stadium and the soda tax and also wants to see a reform of the tax abatement, he told The Temple News. Wolfe’s son is president of Philadelphia Young Republicans.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Isaiah Thomas as a current member of City Council. He is running for an at-large seat in the general election.

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