MAYORAL candidates Jim Kenney and Melissa Murray Bailey know how to lure liberals and conservatives. How about Adarians?
What's an Adarian? Well, think far, far left of Democrat. And far, far right of Republican. Think a galaxy far, far away.
Adarians are an alien species depicted in "The Last Command," a comic-book adaptation of Timothy Zahn's Star Wars novel of the same name.
Who's an Adarian? Ken Richardson, a 48-year-old resident of Southwest Philadelphia. Only he didn't know it until a Daily News reporter told him he was a registered Adarian.
A puzzled Richardson dug out the voter registration card he received in the mail about two months ago from the City Commissioners' Office. Sure enough, it read "Adarian."
"I don't know how that happened," Richardson said. "I didn't notice that my card said 'Adarian' until you called. I looked it up online and started reading about 'Star Wars.' "
Richardson got switched from Democrat to Adarian on an application sent by PennDOT to the Pennsylvania Department of State in late July.
The Daily News reached out to Richardson and a dozen other registered Adarians in Philly. Each voter seemed as mystified as Richardson. Each had filled out a voter registration application at PennDOT.
"I have no idea how I got lumped into that," said Christa Altamuro, 23, a registered Adarian who lives in Fishtown. "I have never heard of that party in my whole life."
Altamuro, who submitted a voter-registration application at PennDOT in March 2013, is one of 289 registered Adarians across the state, with 83 living in the city, according to the state department and the County Board of Elections.
The universe of registered Adarians is small when you consider that there are roughly 8 million registered voters statewide, nearly 1 million in Philadelphia. Still, Adarian Party membership seems high, given that there is only one registered member of the Jedi Party in Philadelphia.
Adarians, with elongated skulls and squid-like features, are a "species of bipedal humanoids from the planet Adari in the Inner Rim of the galaxy," according to Wookieepedia, which is written by "Star Wars" fans and billed as the largest online "Star Wars" encyclopedia.
Adarians also have "distendable throat pouches," enabling them to "emit a loud subsonic call" to far-flung fellow Adarians. (That might be a good thing in a state as large as Pennsylvania, plus, since they're bipedal, they can use Indego Bike Share to get to the polls on Nov. 3.)
It may be hard for a City Council or mayoral candidate to convince Adarians that he or she is the best person for the job.
"Adarians are a stubborn people," noted Carlist Rieekan, the fictitious Rebel military general from "Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back." "Once they've made up their minds, it's almost impossible to change them."
Harry Davis, a 47-year-old registered Adarian from North Philly, said he's "a big 'Star Wars' guy," but he'd never heard of the species.
" 'Star Wars' was a defining moment in my life when I was in elementary school, but I don't actually remember them from the movies," Davis said. "Maybe from the books?"
Davis, a musician who moved here from New York to take care of his mother after she suffered a stroke, filled out a voter-registration application at PennDOT in 2014 when he got his driver's license renewed. Davis said he doesn't remember making Adarian his party choice.
"That must have been some kind of mistake," Davis said. After mulling it over, he speculated, "It could have been a choice on a list and maybe I just picked that."
Brandon Rhea, a "Star Wars" expert, said, "It's actually kind of coincidental that your story is about voting because in the Adarian government, they have a rigid caste system. It's a society where the upper class has complete control over the lower class."
That's kind of how Davis views America's political system.
"I think the two-party system is really just one party," Davis said. "All the politicians seem the same to me. They are all out for their own self-interests."
He's apt to keep his Adarian registration status, he said.
"I probably won't change it," Davis said. "I wanted to be something different rather than just Democrat or Republican. I don't identify with either party."
Sharahn Green, a teacher who lives in the city's Overbrook Farms neighborhood, said she was miffed when she went to vote in the May 19 primary election for Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Williams and a poll worker told her that she couldn't because she was a registered "Adarian."
"I was like, 'Oh, no, I'm a registered Democrat,' " Green said. "When I was told that I was registered as an 'Adarian,' I was very confused about that . . . I didn't know what they were talking about."
Pennsylvania voters can vote in the primaries only of the party with which they're registered.
Green, 38, became a registered Adarian after filling out a voter application via PennDOT in June 2012, city election records show.
PennDOT's "Motor Voter" program appears to be the common denominator among Adarians, including a 32-year-old woman from Moon Township in Allegheny County who went from Republican to Adarian, apparently after a trip to her local PennDOT in February 2013, records show.
There are also 18 registered Adarians in Delaware County - all applications came via PennDOT, according to the state's database.
What gives? Is PennDOT turning residents into an alien force of voters?
"A search of the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors system found that there are 289 voters registered with the Adarian Party out of 8,044,491 voters statewide as of Sept. 8," said Wanda Murren, spokeswoman for the Department of State, which oversees elections and maintains voter registration. "If anyone believes they are incorrectly registered with a party, that individual should contact the Department of State and we will work with them to resolve the matter."
PennDOT's "Motor Voter" program has processed more than 1.1 million voter registration applications over the past five years.
The mistakes are likely the result of alphabetical happenstance and human error, either on the voter's part or on that of the PennDOT photo technicians who processed the applications.
Here's why: Adarian is the first party name on an electronic list of 87 party choices the State Department supplied to PennDOT's computer system.
How the heck did that happen?
Someone somewhere purposely registered as an Adarian. Then, a county official somewhere asked that it be added to that State Department's list, according to Murren.
Among the other parties on the list of 87 are the American Nazi Party, the Anarchist Party, the Bull Moose Party and the Whigs (who successfully elected presidents in the 19th century).
Adarians have been around for "thousands and thousands of years," at least in "Star Wars" parlance, said Rhea.
Greg Irving, voter-registration administrator for the City Commissioners' Office, said: "For some unknown reason, when PennDOT created this system, they put in all those goofy party names. I don't understand the reasoning behind it. We asked them about it, and the explanation is, once they declare 'Other,' they can state any party name they want."
Irving said the Adarian registration problem has reared its ugly head before, though it's "not rampant."
"Now, have they [PennDOT] accidentally sent us some applications that have come through as Adarian? Yes," Irving said. "Usually when they do that, we do get calls or a letter [from the voter] telling us that we have them registered wrong and we make that change as soon as possible."
Irving urged voters to double-check their voter registration card when it comes in the mail.
Ray Selfridge, 25, is the lone registered Jedi on Philly's voter rolls. Selfridge, a computer programmer and 2013 graduate of Drexel University, vividly recalled switching his voter registration from Republican to Jedi while in college.
"I came to the conclusion that the way things are with voting for major political politicians, like president and senators, has become a joke," Selfridge said. "So I figured I'd register as a Jedi."
When a reporter pointed out that he is far outnumbered by registered Adarians, Selfridge replied, "Well, that makes sense. The Stormtroopers did eradicate all the Jedi."
In the original "Star Wars" trilogy, the Adarians supported the Rebel Alliance over the Galactic Empire.
Where does that leave Kenney and Bailey?
"Jim Kenney has always been a strong advocate for Philadelphians from other countries," said Kenney campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt. "That certainly extends to Philadelphians from other galaxies as well."
And Bailey said: "I mean, we already call our campaign team the Rebel Alliance anyway. So I will leave it up to Jim Kenney to convince [the Adarians] that he is actually a good guy and not part of the Empire . . . "