Pete Camiel, the former, who was forced from office by Party, who was forced from office by partisans of Mayor Frank Rizzo, had the most bitter analysis of Tuesday's vote on granting the mayor a chance at an unprecedented third term.
"They tried to steal an election," Camiel, now in his 70s, told the local press with professional contempt.
"And they didn't even know how to do that."
Rizzo, whose campaign theme was "Vote white," saw his bid to repeal the city charter prohibition against a third term buried, 457,851 to 232,337 amid a blizzard of reports of vote fraud. The voter turnout was near-record 70 percent.
As an indication of the seriousness with which the issue was taken in the city, about 20,000 more people voted on the charter question than bothered to cast a vote for either the Democratic or Republican candidate for governor.
By all reports, the election was one of the dirtiest in Philadelphia's long and seamy political history.
A federal grand jury convened Tuesday to take testimony, including that of election commission Chairwoman Margaret Tartaglione, an ardent Rizzo supporter, who was arrested Tuesday night and charged with having polling machines moved to an unannounced location in a ward considered opposed to the major. The FBI reported yesterday that it has subpoenaed the supervisor of voting machine repairs to review his records.
A broad coalition of anti-Rizzo blacks, blue-collar workers, businessmen, bankers and liberals and even extreme radical groups made a variety of charges before Common Pleas Court Judge Lisa Richette, who was sitting as judge of elections Tuesday.
The charges included:
Massive breakdowns of voting machines in black and liberal anti-Rizzo wards.
In some divisions (precincts), the breakdown of all machines at once, closing the polls completely for from two to five hours.
The refusal of pro-Rizzo judges of election to admit the legality of voter registration cards, forcing voters to travel downtown to City Hall for a court order to allow them to vote.
Blacks being offered money to vote for the charter change.
At least 10 voting machines recording no votes.
Some machines not registering the votes of those who voted only on the charter change question.
At least one polling place not opening until 1 p.m. - five hours late.
Some machines were broken for so long that Judge Richette ordered the distribution of paper ballots in more than 100 divisions.
John White, the deputy to the district attorney, reported hundreds of complaints to his office yesterday, the vast majority of them about broken voting machines in black neighbourhoods.
Roughly 10 percent of the divisions reported broken machines, he said but in 14 northeast, overwhelmingly white wards, only 1 percent of the divisions reported problems while in nine western, mostly black wards, 20 nine western, mostly black wards, 20 percent did, he said.
"An explanation that has been unofficially offered," he said, "is that the oldest machines generally go into the black wards because black wards have the lowest turnout. Black wards had the lowest turnout yesterday, also, but there were so many more blacks registered that it was a strain on those old machines."
All the machines have been impounded, he said.
White offered on bright note.
"While there was trouble with the machines, there was a lot less physical pushing and shoving at the polling places themselves then usual.
"There wasn't a lot of controversy. Look at the numbers."
While some black wards voted 40-to-1 against Rizzo, formerly pro-Rizzo wards in the predominantly northeast and Roxborough sections also suprisingly rejected the charter change.