Back before the primary in May, Larry Platt wrote about a citizen who takes election day one step further than most of us: Pauline Abernathy. When Abernathy first moved to Philadelphia in 2000, she was shocked that, on election day, scores of Philadelphians who showed up at the polls pulled the lever for candidates they’d never heard of. Growing up in Newton, Massachusetts, Abernathy learned to take voting far more seriously than that. Every election, her mother would research local candidates, type up her notes and xerox them in a local copy shop. Come election day, their neighbors would make two stops: First, they’d swing by the Abernathys for a copy of AnnaMaria Abernathy’s scouting report, and then it was on to the voting booth.
So Abernathy—a former special advisor to Mayor Michael Nutter, and currently Chief Strategy Officer at Benefits Data Trust—started doing the same. And now her pre-election “notes” on all candidates in all branches of government go to close to 1,000 local citizens.
Pauline Abernathy reminds us of the power each of us possess. She doesn’t wait for the political parties to spin her or the press to inform her. Instead, she’s her own reporter, seeking out the information she needs to be an active participant in her city.
The Citizen does not endorse any candidates for office. When it comes to judicial candidates, neither do the newspapers. We do, however, endorse citizens who do their homework before heading to the polls—and who help others do theirs.
So, below, we link to the portion of Abernathy’s email that lays out her pick for judges:
Still unsure what else is on the ballot?
Nick Marzano breaks it down for you:
When it comes to voting, our democracy is broken. In the May primary, just 18 percent of registered voters came out to the polls—and that was deemed a success. In 2013, the last time there was a race for District Attorney, just 11.4 percent of eligible Philadelphians voted.
That is on us: Every citizen should vote, period. But it is also a symptom of an electoral system that puts up roadblocks to easy voting. That’s why we’ve been chronicling ways to fix this problem.
This guide offers several solutions. But it’s certainly not an exhaustive list.
You can weigh in on what changes you think we need by contacting your elected officials.
But first, get out there and VOTE.