PENNSYLVANIA

 

Candidates

Conor Lamb for Congress -- US House of Represesntatives

Claudette Williams for Congress -- US House of Representatives

Christina Finello for Congress  - US House of Representatives

NOTES:

  1. PA Voter Registration Deadlines is Oct 19, 15 days before Nov 3, 2020.

  2. Stage 3 -- No excuse is required to vote by mail.
  3. Online registration available.

FAVORITES:

  1.  Act Blue Directory 

  2. Vote.org -- Everything about ever state

  3. Movement.vote/groups/ -- Help local, state orgs get out the vote

  4. Votevets.org -- Vets against voter suppression

  5. Votefwd.org -- Most popular way to volunteer to support getting out the vote

  6. VoteSaveAmerica.com -- Adopt a State

Obama's 2020 Endorsements

Josh Shapiro, Attorney General

Nina Ahmad, Auditor General

Joe Torsella, Treasurer

Christina Finello, U.S. House, PA-01

Susan Wild, U.S. House, PA-07

Matt Cartwright, U.S. House, PA-08

Eugene DePasquale, U.S. House, PA-10

Marlene Katz, State House, HD-29

Lissa Geiger Shulman, State House, HD-30

Brittney Rodas, State House, HD-105

Jonathan Kassa, State House, HD-151

Nancy Guenst, State House, HD-152

Anton Andrew, State House, HD-160

Deb Ciamacca, State House, HD-168

Claudette Williams, State House, HD-176

Ann Marie Mitchell, State House, HD-178

John Kane, State Senate, SD-09

Janet Diaz, State Senate, SD-13

George Scott, State Senate, SD-15

Pam Iovino, State Senate, SD-37

Julie Slomski, State Senate, SD-49

Voter Issues

AUGUST 2020

Pennsylvania: Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has announced that Pennsylvania will prepay the cost of postage to return mail ballots this fall, a move that comes in response to an ongoing lawsuit by national Democrats that is currently pending before the state Supreme Court. While the decision is a victory for plaintiffs, election expert Michael McDonald warns that some ballots may be rejected because some post offices aren't postmarking prepaid mail despite an official policy to do so for mail ballots.

The plaintiffs in that case are also seeking to count ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received within a few days afterward; ensure ballots aren't rejected for non-matching signatures without voters having a chance to fix any problems; and allow campaigns or community groups to collect and submit completed mail ballots on behalf of voters.

JULY 2020

• Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to effectively short-circuit a federal lawsuit that the Trump campaign and several GOP Congress members recently filed to restrict voting access, which the federal district court recently agreed to expedite.

Democrats are asking the appellate-level Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court to guarantee that counties can set up drop boxes for returning mail ballots; count ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received within a few days afterward; give voters a chance to fix problems with mail ballot signatures; count mail ballots lacking an inner secrecy envelope; and prohibit voters from serving as poll watchers in a county where they aren't a resident. The GOP's federal lawsuit is trying to block drop boxes and allow out-of-county poll watchers, which is likely intended to facilitate voter intimidation.

 

Pennsylvania: Republican legislators have passed a constitutional amendment out of both legislative chambers that would effectively gerrymander the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and two intermediate appellate courts. This move is a retaliation against the high court, which has a Democratic majority, after the justices struck down the GOP's congressional gerrymander in 2018 and replaced it with a much fairer map in a historic ruling establishing that gerrymandering violated the state constitution's guarantee of "free and equal" elections.

The GOP's amendment would replace the current system of statewide appellate court elections with a district-based system. Because Democrats and Black voters in Pennsylvania are heavily concentrated in cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, such a system would likely favor Republicans and allow them to win a majority of the Supreme Court's seven seats even if they couldn't win a majority of votes statewide. Federal courts have also not established a binding national precedent that judicial districts need to be of equal population like legislative-branch districts must, opening the door to even more extreme gerrymandering in future years.

Pennsylvania's top court will play a central role in redistricting, since it appoints a tiebreaker to the bipartisan commission that oversees legislative redistricting in the event of deadlock between the two parties (which is all but guaranteed). When Republicans controlled the court after 2000 and 2010, their court majority enabled them to pass gerrymanders that prevented Democrats from winning majorities in the legislature even when they won more votes statewide, as happened in 2018. The court could also wind up redrawing the congressional map for 2022 in the likely event that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf blocks the GOP legislature from drawing a new gerrymander.

This new amendment still has many hurdles to overcome before it could take effect. Republicans must pass the exact same proposal again after the 2020 elections, meaning that if Democrats are able to flip one of the legislature's two chambers, the amendment will die. However, if the GOP maintains their majorities, they could pass the amendment again and put it on the ballot as a referendum before the 2022 elections. Even in that scenario, though, voters would still have the opportunity to defeat the amendment at the ballot box.

JULY 2020

 

Pennsylvania: The Trump campaign and several Republican Congress members have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to prohibit counties from setting up drop boxes or locations aside from the county board office for voters to return their absentee mail ballots. They also want to bar officials from counting mail ballots that aren't placed in a secrecy envelope and allow Pennsylvanians to serve as poll watchers across the state regardless of which county they live in.

These provisions would add onerous burdens for mail voting access, and the measure on poll watchers in particular appears intended to encourage voter intimidation in urban communities of color in cities like Philadelphia. At one 2016 campaign rally, Trump listed several cities with large Black populations—including Philadelphia—and urged his supporters to volunteer as poll watchers in them.

MAY 2020

 

• Pennsylvania: Citing their inability to recruit a sufficient number of poll workers, officials in Pennsylvania's largest county of Philadelphia have asked the state for permission to cut the number of polling places they will operate for the June 2 primary by more than the 60% allowed under the new state law that postponed the primary from April 28. Otherwise, the county is asking for the National Guard to be deployed to help staff them. Allegheny County, which is Pennsylvania's second-largest county and home to Pittsburgh, has similarly asked the state for permission to cut its polling places by up to 90% as the county undertakes a plan to mail applications for mail ballots to all voters.

APRIL 2020

• Pennsylvania: Democrats have filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to require that Pennsylvania prepay the postage for all mail-in ballots, count ballots if they are postmarked by Election Day instead of only if they're received by Election Day, give voters a chance to correct problems with their ballot signature, and let third-party groups collect and return mail ballots. Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is encouraging all registered voters to apply for mail-in ballots for the June primary and has sent out postcards with relevant information.

MARCH 2020

 

• Pennsylvania: The NAACP has filed a lawsuit in state court to end prison gerrymandering in Pennsylvania and require the state to count incarcerated people for redistricting purposes at their last address, arguing that the practice dilutes the power of certain groups of voters in violation of the state constitution's guarantee that "[e]lections shall be free and equal." If the plaintiffs prevail, ending prison gerrymandering would likely shift representation at the legislative and local levels from whiter rural communities to urban communities of color such as Philadelphia.

The constitutional provision plaintiffs are relying on is the same one that the state Supreme Court used to strike down Republicans' congressional gerrymander in 2018. The NAACP is also simultaneously waging a lawsuit in federal court over prison gerrymandering in Connecticut.

©BOOMERS FOR DEMOCRACY