Blackwell's stamp act meets resistanceby Jeff Shields
Inquirer-Philadelphia, PA -If the scene at the Salvation Army center in West Philadelphia on primary election day was representative of State Rep. Thomas W. Blackwell's write-in campaign for reelection, it's no wonder victorious Vanessa Brown out-polled him by more than 11 to 1.
Blackwell had hoped to repeat a nearly successful 2006 write-in effort by candidate Emilio Vazquez in the 179th District. Vazquez, like Blackwell, had gotten knocked off the ballot. Vazquez had left information off his financial disclosure forms; Blackwell failed to gather enough valid signatures.
In 2006, Vazquez lost to Tony J. Payton Jr. by 14 votes. His secret - pre-made rubber stamps and ink pads, handed out to people at the polls, that made it easy to stamp in Vazquez's name.
But when a Blackwell worker showed up at the Salvation Army at 55th and Market, "they got laughed right out of here," election judge Dorothy Stovall said. Her objection was that the Blackwell camp wanted poll workers to hand out the stamps, she said. That's against the law.
Blackwell questioned Stovall's account and said, "Believe me, we don't encourage anyone to do anything wrong."
Stovall chucked the stamps out, and there to collect them was Brown supporter and poll-watcher Gloria Thomas-Lewis, who said she snatched one as a souvenir and sent another back to Blackwell through an emissary.
As for the others? "If Tommy wants them back, he can come back and get them from me," Thomas-Lewis said.
Blackwell will not want the reminder. Unofficial election results in the Democratic primary show he received 1,012 votes. Brown's count: 11,539.