The importance of voting became evident after Philadelphia resident Phillip Garcia submitted his name and became an elected official.
Garcia, who identifies as gender non-binary, is the editor-at-large for The Rumpus, a non-profit organization that curates creative writers and poets, and a Temple University Ph.D. candidate.
In a letter from the city on Friday, Garcia found out he won the position as an election judge to serve on a board for Ward 21, Division 10 of the city, covering areas of the Manayunk neighborhood.
He was shocked when he received the letter that appointed him as the "Judge of Election." He told The Hill:
I literally yelled 'what the hell' when I opened the letter. I've written my name in a few times during elections when no one else is listed for a position. It's just been a thing I do, with no expectation of, like, actually making an impact on the vote.
He tweeted, "They say that one vote doesn't matter, but I literally wrote in my own name and won an election because I guess no-one else ran/voted for this position."
@AvantGarcia This is both F'ed up and amazing at the same time, I'm neutral. My brain can't process how this can happen.— PJ (@PJ) 1512265977.0
The newly appointed Judge is not one to mince words.
This is easily the most fucking ridiculous thing to happen to me.— p.e. garcia (@p.e. garcia) 1512169658.0
Philadelphia's election results website indicated Garcia won his position by three votes as a write-in candidate. He said two other candidates names were submitted, but likely turned down due to ineligibility.
Apparently there were three votes for this position, so I really don't know how this happened.— p.e. garcia (@p.e. garcia) 1512234254.0
The City Commissioner Al Schmidt said it's not unusual for candidates winning a position in this manner.
Frequently, candidates do not file petitions to have their names appear on the ballot, so that's when we see write-in votes being decisive. A winner is the candidate who received the most write-in votes.
Twitter had a couple of suggestions for the new judge.
@AvantGarcia You should demand people refer to you as Judge Garcia now.— Liz Breen (@Liz Breen) 1512234414.0
What's weird is that I was already demanding that before this even happened. https://t.co/5LMO1hP92G— p.e. garcia (@p.e. garcia) 1512234553.0
@AvantGarcia Who knows what madness I wake up to tomorrow, but reading about this whole thing tonight makes me genu… https://t.co/kvbwCJbJfB— Covfefe Ohtani (@Covfefe Ohtani) 1512274136.0
He looks forward to playing an active role in his community. "This actually will be a great way for me to be more involved in my neighborhood and work actively toward more progressive change," he said. "I actually have a background in community organizing, and while I'm not entirely sure how this position could align with that, it seems like an opportunity to find some ways to at least more deeply connect with my neighbors."
The role of election judges includes manning their local voting place on election days, and they earn $100 for each election. A candidate is required to be a local U.S. citizen at least 18 years of age and reside in the division they'll preside over.
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