Despite being an off-year election, over 1,000 people turned out to vote on campus this Tuesday for what would become a historic Election Day for Philadelphia.
2016 Fels Institute of Government graduate Cherelle Parker was elected to serve as the city's 100th mayor — and first female mayor — on Nov. 7 after receiving over three-quarters of the vote against Republican candidate David Oh and over 82% of the vote at Penn. On campus, students volunteered at the polls, organized tabling events on Locust Walk, and cast their votes for the mayoral and various down-ballot candidates.
The Daily Pennsylvanian photographers captured how the Penn community participated in Election Day, from the time polls opened early in the morning to the night when a new Penn alum was elected into the city's highest office.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. on Tuesday at the ARCH building and Houston Hall, where volunteers with Penn Leads the Vote, a nonpartisan political organization, tabled outside.
Students lined up to check in with poll workers before heading to the voting booths.
Along with the mayoral race and elections for the state’s Supreme Court, voters decided to make Philadelphia’s Office for the People with Disabilities permanent and elected two members of the Working Families Party to historically Republican-held at-large City Council seats.
College sophomore Eric Lee acknowledged the importance of learning about ballot issues before voting.
"I think voter education is very important," he said. "So, get educated."
College first-year Eileen Miranda voted for the first time, saying that she has been anticipating the day for a while.
"[I knew] I would show my parents my sticker and take a picture and send it to them, because now I can vote," she said.
College junior Ria Ellendula made cotton candy on Locust Walk with PLTV to incentivize students to vote in the off-year election. She said that the Pennsylvanian Supreme Court race was especially important to her. Democrat Daniel McCaffery won the election, increasing Democrats' majority to 5-2.
"Down ballot races do not typically get a lot of voter turnout, but as college students, we have a lot of power to turn out in big quantities and make our opinions heard with our vote," Ellendula said.
The polls closed at 8 p.m. across Pennsylvania, with poll workers sealing up boxes and posting the ballot receipts outside the ARCH building and Houston Hall.
At the same time across the city, supporters of Parker began entering the auditorium at Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, many of whom were wearing orange campaign swag and waving the blue and yellow flag of Philadelphia.
Campaign supporter Tracey Henderson and soror of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., a historically Black Greek organization of which Parker is a member, said that she has long known Parker because the mayor-elect grew up with her younger brother.
"I feel like she's a little sister from the neighborhood. I'm proud of her, but also as a sorority sister, we are proud of her. I think she'll do a great job," Henderson said, adding that Parker has been involved with the Philadelphia community for "quite some time."
After numerous speakers, Parker walked out onto the stage at 9:42 p.m. to the songs "Where's Da Party At?" by Doug E. Fresh, "Show Me What You Got" by JAY-Z, and "Ladies First" by Queen Latifah. At her side during her speech was Marian Tasco, her mentor and a former city council member.
Parker spoke about how her campaign and her future administration is for Philadelphians regardless of race, class, socioeconomic status, zip code, or religion.
"My real life lived experience is closest to the people who are experiencing the most pain in our city right now," Parker said. "My message to Philadelphians from all walks of life, was that if they would just give me the opportunity... I would put all of it to great use to make Philadelphia the safest, cleanest, greenest city with economic opportunity for all."
Staff photographers Sydney Curran and Chenyao Liu contributed reporting.