Voter turnout low, drama high in Philly primary elections

Brett Mandel Alan Butkovitz
City Controller challenger Brett Mandel (left) and Alan Butkovitz (right). (Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro).

Though voter turnout at Tuesday’s primary elections was low – Committee of Seventy’s Ellen Kaplan called it “the sleepiest election” during her eight year tenure with the organization – drama still ran high, particularly in the race for Democratic City Controller nominee.

Incumbent Alan Butkovitz’s campaign obtained an injunction from an Election Court judge barring challenger Brett Mandel from electioneering inside polling places after Mandel allegedly handed a campaign sticker to a 2nd Ward committeeman.

According to Mandel, the “sticker” was actually a temporary tattoo.

“I was on my way out of a polling place a committeeperson brought me into to meet the Board of Elections,” he said.

“On my way out, I saw a guy with tattoos and said, ‘You have tattoos – here’s a tattoo,’ and I handed him one.”

Mandel claimed he wasn’t electioneering.

“Certainly we know the rules,” he said. “I thought I was just being neighborly.”

When Butkovitz – who said his campaign only found “two or three Mandel supporters around the city” – was asked about the incident, he deadpanned, “In some quarters that would be called assault.”

Butkovitz added that Mandel didn’t try to affix a tattoo to him.

“I think he’s had enough contact with me,” he said.


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