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26-Dec-2016 15:18

Chicago and Atlanta each had precincts that registered no votes for Republican Sen. "I'd be surprised if there weren't a handful of precincts that didn't cast a vote for Romney," he said. In a city with 1,687 of the ward subsets known as divisions, each with hundreds of voters, 59 is about 3.5 percent of the total.

But the number of zero precincts in Philadelphia deserves examination, Sabato added. In some of those divisions, it's not only Romney supporters who are missing. Take North Philadelphia's 28th Ward, third division, bounded by York, 24th, and 28th Streets and Susquehanna Avenue.

Upon hearing the numbers, Steve Miskin, a spokesman for Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, brought up his party's voter-identification initiative - which was held off for this election - and said, "We believe we need to continue ensuring the integrity of the ballot." The absence of a voter-ID law, however, would not stop anyone from voting for a Republican candidate.

Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia who has studied African American precincts, said he had occasionally seen 100 percent of the vote go for the Democratic candidate.

The leader of the 28th Ward is Democrat Anthony Clark, who grew up under the tutelage of the late power broker and Democratic ward leader Carol Ann Campbell.

Though that is not something anyone would likely volunteer to a Democratic ward leader, Clark eventually remembered Lewis Harris, the GOP leader in the nearby 29th ward, and that rare species: an urban black Republican.

A few blocks away, Eric Sapp, a 42-year-old chef, looked skeptical when told that city data had him listed as a registered Republican.

"I got to check on that," said Sapp, who voted for Obama.

Harris, in an interview, said he works for the GOP mostly because he believes city neighborhoods need attention from both parties.

"I open the door to the community and let them be exposed to diversity in the political party," Harris said.

Though that is not something anyone would likely volunteer to a Democratic ward leader, Clark eventually remembered Lewis Harris, the GOP leader in the nearby 29th ward, and that rare species: an urban black Republican.

A few blocks away, Eric Sapp, a 42-year-old chef, looked skeptical when told that city data had him listed as a registered Republican.

"I got to check on that," said Sapp, who voted for Obama.

Harris, in an interview, said he works for the GOP mostly because he believes city neighborhoods need attention from both parties.

"I open the door to the community and let them be exposed to diversity in the political party," Harris said.

"I want political community-based leverage." Harris cast his vote for Romney, but he's also an Obama fan. Nationally, 93 percent of African Americans voted for Obama, according to exit polls, so it's not surprising that in some parts of Philadelphia, the president did even better than that.