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Philadelphia locals hit the voting booths on May 16, and two Penn students were elected to be Judge of Election in their respective districts.

Credit: Tiffany Pham

Two Penn students were elected as officials in Philadelphia’s local elections held on May 16.

2016 College graduate and Penn Law School student Louis Capozzi and College sophomore Louis Lin both ran unopposed for the position of Judge of Election. Capozzi ran in Ward 27, District 11, and Lin in Ward 27, Division 20.

The Judge of Election serves a term of four years and is responsible for ensuring that proper voting procedures are upheld. On election days, they are present at polling places ensuring that voters receive ballots, explaining the voting process to voters and checking in voters as they enter the voting location.

The position is nonpartisan, but members of either party usually fill the seat. Capozzi is a Republican and Lin is a Democrat.

Judges of Election are the heads of a four to five person Election Board that oversees elections in each voting district, called a precinct.

Lin, who is majoring in political science and health and societies, said he decided to run for Judge of Election when President Donald Trump alleged that between 3 and 5 million illegal votes had been cast in the presidential election in November.

“It’s their role to open up the polls, make sure that people who are voting are registered, and to me, it’s something that he [Trump] blew out of proportion, and being able for me to play some role in some sort of resistance, my way of showing, 'hey, this doesn’t actually happen, let me show you that I am running this correctly,'” he said.

Capozzi, a former columnist for The Daily Pennsylvanian who just completed his first year at Penn Law, decided to run after reading an article published by Committee of 70, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving and expanding the voting vexperience in Philadelphia and holding government officials accountable.

He encouraged other Penn students to take advantage of similar opportunities, acknowledging that there were several other unopposed empty seats in this election.

“I know that there’s a lot of politically engaged people on this campus, and there are a lot opportunities to run for position like this,” he said. “It really is one of the great privileges of our American Republic.”