NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to our terms.

We Have A Winner

Bridget Conroy-Varnis voted last night. And went home with $10,000

Bridget Conroy-Varnis hardly ever misses the chance to vote. In fact, voting is practically part of her DNA: Her father was a South Philly committeeman, and her childhood home even served as a polling place for a few elections. So it was no big surprise to find Conroy-Varnis, a school crossing guard at 10th and Bigler, emerging from her polling place at 4th and Shunk yesterday evening, after casting her ballot in the Mayoral election.

The surprise for Conroy-Varnis came as she was leaving the Murphy Recreation Center: She won $10,000 from The Citizen’s 2015 Philadelphia Municipal Election Voting Lottery.

“I can’t believe this” Conroy-Varnis said. “This is crazy!”

The Citizen randomly chose Conroy-Varnis’s polling place—number 919—from the 1,686 locations in the city, as well as a random time: 6:36 PM. Varnis was the first voter to emerge from her polling place at the rec center after 6:36.

With a phalanx of news cameras shining a light on her as she stepped out the door, Citizen Editor Larry Platt thanked Conroy-Varnis for voting, and presented her with an oversized check for $10,000. She’ll receive an actual check, provided by the Pamela and Ajay Raju Foundation, within a few weeks, after the vote is certified.

Conroy-Varnis said she had heard about the lottery, and though she was thrilled to win the prize, was sad that it was necessary. “Every election I try to get out,” she said. “That’s how I was brought up. Every vote counts, so do your civic duty.”

A  pre-election survey by the Emerson College Polling Society found that 30 percent of Philadelphia voters knew about The Citizen’s lottery, which was first announced in a press conference 12 days ago featuring former rivals Mayor John Street and Sam Katz. A post-election followup survey will determine if the gambit worked to bring more voters to the polls here as it did in a similar lottery in Los Angeles, where turnout in a small school district among those who knew of the prize rose from 46 percent to 80 percent.

After her initial shock, Conroy-Varnis took her prize in stride, quickly forming a plan for how she’ll spend her civically-earned money.

“I would like to donate a little bit,” she said. “And pay off some bills, and maybe buy a used car.”

The Philadelphia Citizen will only publish thoughtful, civil posts. We want to be a communal space. But that doesn’t mean you have a First Amendment right to be an idiot. Send us an insulting, offensive and/or wildly off-topic comment and not only will we refrain from posting it -- we will laugh at you before we hit delete.

Recent Tweets
@THEPHILACITIZEN

@thephilacitizen @@thephilacitizen
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Citizen Of The Week! @foodconnectphl founder, Megha Kulshreshtha, is solving the problem of food waste in the city. https://t.co/SkpFxykQra 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Can Philadelphia pull itself out of the philanthropic giving doldrums? https://t.co/D5NtGO8qIw 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
MOVE Historical Marker Ceremony this Sat at 3pm, Osage Ave & Cobbs Creek PkWY with guest speaker @PoetSanchezhttps://t.co/y6x1QJntZM 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Laugh-it-Forward with @NLC . This Saturday, June 24, 6-9 p.m. Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street.… https://t.co/4GnYYwR04m 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
An aggressive class of Pa. legislators, from both sides of the aisle, pushing for an expanded “sin tax” state. https://t.co/WCHrOMrfqR 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Help pack bag lunches for the hungry with @1kindactamonth this Sat from 12-2 p.m., 9th and Market streets.… https://t.co/dIgOdB9cuh 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
First walk; then feast. Join @PhillyPeacePark this Sat at 12pm for a Walk For Peace at 22nd and Susquehanna https://t.co/rEC1JuBOlc 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Citizen Of The Week: @foodconnectphl offers local restaurants a way to connect with non-profits helping the hungry. https://t.co/PIA3KOzWHg 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"When it comes to philanthropic giving, we have a lot of room for improvement" Guest commentary from @DonKligerman https://t.co/ld5t0pU1wZ 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Back on My Feet is not just about running. It’s about caring for people." https://t.co/hFjJQGzeTo https://t.co/Zc1zyzDbJq 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
June is Reentry Awareness Month in Philadelphia. https://t.co/FSb90RetGD 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
@ellisonreport on state legislation plan to expand gaming and privatize liquor sales in Philly—but at what cost?… https://t.co/cwCUjhT446 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
For Back on My Feet, running isn’t a gimmick; it’s a tool. https://t.co/zexnIpq3pR 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Philly native Jamol Manigault on 'Jason's Letter' shot in Philadelphia and Delaware. via @thephillyvoice https://t.co/n2xydUuVnu 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story