Overall, 24% of registered voters in Philadelphia turned out, up from 17% the previous half.
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Hundreds of thousands more Philadelphians voted in the May 2022 election than they did in the midterm primary four years ago, according to official figures, but turnout varied widely in different parts of the city
Overall, according to Office of City Commissioners data, just under 24% of registered voters in Philly (247,411 out of 1,048,790 people) went to the polls, vs 17% in 2018.
Voter turnout is consistently lower in non-presidential years, and four years ago, unlike this year’s protracted contests for either party’s nominations, there were no contested races for the Palestinian governor or US Senate seat.
These close races helped push turnout to record levels across the Commonwealth. About 30% — over 2.6 million out of 8.7 million — of Pennsylvania’s registered voters cast their ballots in the May 17 primary, setting a national record for both Democrats and Republicans, according to analysis by Inquirer.
In Philadelphia, some of the city’s 66 counties exceeded the city and state averages, and some seriously underperformed. In one district, fewer than 1 in 13 registered voters turned up to vote. In another, almost half decided to cast a vote.
Many primary voters came to large parts of Northwest Philly, which had long been considered a political stronghold. Ward 9, which includes Chestnut Hill, had the highest turnout percentage of any in the city: 5,961 of 12,595 registered voters, or 47%. Turnout was also high in areas of South Philly such as Queen Village and Bella Vista.
Fairmount’s Ward 15, which achieved 38% overall turnout, included the ward with the strongest showing in the city in that election. In Division 6, beginning on Pennsylvania Avenue across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 588 of 822 registered voters went to the polls. That’s 72%.
As has been the norm in the past, turnout lagged in North Philly and the lower Northeast, areas with some of the lowest median incomes in the city.
Ward 7 in North Philly received only 820 primary votes from 13,057 registered voters, which is 6.3%. Several of its neighbors – Ward 19 to the south (West Kensington, 9%); District 33 to the east (Juniata, 8%); District 42 North (Feltonville, 11%); and Ward 43 to the west (Hunting Park, 12%) – also had some of the lowest percentages in the city.
The college town was home to the district with the lowest turnout percentage. In Ward 27’s 22nd division, just under 2% of registered voters – 33 out of 1,680 people – cast a ballot. The district includes mostly dormitories for Penn, where final exams ended the week before the election. Overall, the 27th District recorded a turnout of 12%.
And of course there were some areas in the middle. But even in the districts with average voter turnout, there were differences from block to block.
For example: Ward 65, located on the Delaware River in northeast Philadelphia. Voter turnout, at 26%, was slightly higher than the city’s overall percentage. In the 20th Division, 560 out of 1,146 eligible voters (49%) voted in the primary. But in the 14th Division only 48 out of 495 registered voters (10%) cast their ballots.