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Partisan politics has had little control over a large decrease in registered voters in Philadelphia. Across the city, nearly one-fifth of the registered voters, representing all parts of the political spectrum, were purged this summer for not voting in the last four elections. And in the ward covering the University area, few Democratic and independent voters faced Republican attempts to strike them from the rolls, a challenge which had become habitual in the past few years. City-wide, the current number of registered voters in Philadelphia, 795,487, is the lowest number of registered voters in the city since the 1940s. 27th Ward Republican leader Matthew Wolfe said the massive purge mostly removed people who no longer lived in the University area. However, Democratic ward leader Kevin Vaughan helped challenge the purge in court. A federal court judge rejected the challenge. "The thing about the whole purge process is that [it strikes] people who voted for president, senator, but who did not vote in municipal or congressional elections," Vaughan said. "The law itself seems to be in question. "]It doesn't allow] an affirmative decision not to vote. Those people should have a right to do that," Vaughan said. Unlike previous years, voters from both political parties were struck from the rolls. The Board of Elections struck nearly 200 voters living in off-campus divisions because it determined the voters no longer lived at their listed addresses. Last spring, 27th Ward Republicans challenged approximately 700 registered Democrats and independents. The party has challenged opposing voters in every election for the past several years, hoping to eliminate students and others who change their addresses frequently. The voters last spring were subsequently reinstated by court order. According to 27th Ward Democratic Leader Kevin Vaughan, those wishing to strike voters must now inform the voters more thoroughly that they can be taken off the rolls. Since a judge determined the previous challenges had been improperly served, attempts to strike voters have been more difficult. In the 27th Ward, where student registration is usually low, Democrats outnumber Republicans over three to one. The ward has over 8000 registered voters. Unlike many other wards, the rolls are split nearly evenly between blacks and whites and women and men. In the city, Democrats still hold more than a two to one advantage in registration. Over 550,000 voters identify themselves as Democrats while over 220,000 register as Republicans. Blacks constitute nearly a third less of the registered voters than whites, although women outnumber men in registration by nearly 100,000. (CUT LINE) Please see PURGES, page A5 PURGES, from page A1

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