September 17, 2021
GOP election probe: a misguided distraction

Acquiescing to the demand by supporters of the losing candidate in last year’s presidential election that it be investigated yet again, Republicans on the State Senate’s Intergovernmental Operations Committee voted to subpoena the PA Department of State for documents and correspondence related to instructions it issued to county election boards, training material for poll workers and records for every voter in the state, including driver’s license and partial Social Security numbers. All of this information would be given to an as-yet unnamed vendor, and taxpayers will cover the bill. Democrats say they’ll fight back in court. This misguided gambit will do nothing to bolster the trust of those who have concerns about our elections while distracting from the real work that needs to be done. See Seventy’s full statement.
  • Words matter: Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan praised The Inquirer’s decision not to use the word “audit” to describe the GOP election probe, and its public explanation of why it’s doing so: “The words that a news organization uses to tell a story make a difference,” Sullivan writes.
Congressional redistricting: Enter Governor Wolf

The PA House State Government Committee has scheduled ten hearings around the state, and the House Republican Caucus has a redistricting website to receive public input. The Senate is also holding hearings on how to redraw congressional lines. Now, Governor Tom Wolf, who can sign or veto any redistricting plan the Legislature sends to his desk, has his own online portal to hear from Pennsylvanians about how to redraw the new 17-seat congressional map. Wolf also announced a six-member advisory panel to help evaluate proposed maps and provide counsel. Three of its members (Penn State geographer Christopher Fowler, West Chester University political scientist John J. Kennedy and Gettysburg College mathematician Beth Campbell have ties to Draw the Lines, and a fourth (Penn State political scientist Lee Ann Banaszak) served with C70 CEO David Thornburgh on the PA Redistricting Reform Commission.
Caught our ear
Here and Now: Draw the Lines mapper Lauren Ban, a University of Pittsburgh law student, describes how DTL’s Citizens’ Map was compiled on WESA’s Here and Now.
City Hall Roll Call
City Hall Roll Call is a summary of City Council’s weekly Stated Meeting by Lauren Vidas, an election lawyer and government relations specialist. Good government requires transparency, which is why C70 proudly sponsors this important work! 
On our radar
Collateral damage: Governor Wolf pulled acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid’s nomination because he fears that she’ll be unlikely to get “a fair hearing from this Senate on her merits.” Senate president pro tem Jake Corman said the Senate could hold the nomination hearings anyway. Our view: Degraffenreid is an experienced and credible election professional. Let her do her job.
Democratic gerrymandering: The Democrats in Albany are in complete control of the process and, according to The New York Times, widespread gerrymandering is expected.
If at first you don’t succeed… Stymied by a GOP filibuster of the more expansive For the People voting-rights bill, seven Democratic U.S. senators have sponsored a compromise bill. It would curb gerrymandering and make voter registration easier but would also require voter ID.
Another GOP constitutional move: Four Republican state senators want to amend the PA constitution to prohibit cabinet secretaries from issuing “mandates, guidance, orders or directives” without an active emergency order in place, City & State PA reports.
Mixed bag on FOP contract: The three-year deal between the city and the police union “brings few of the long-anticipated reforms eyed by advocates after a year of historic protests against aggressive policing,” according to Billy Penn.
For our Freedom: Democracy Is Brewing
Fri., 5-7 pm

Celebrate Constitution Day with American Promise staff and volunteers at a happy hour for drinks, discussion and connections with your fellow Pennsylvanians eager to fight for freedom and equal rights. Learn more and RSVP.
Get Involved
Sign the Citizens’ Pledge to Fight Big Money in Elections

American Promise members in PA are launching a bipartisan campaign to make us the 23rd state to call for a constitutional amendment to stop big-money corruption. It would “reaffirm the power of citizens through their government to regulate the raising and spending of money in elections.” Learn more and sign the pledge.
National Disability Voter Registration Week
Sept. 13-18

Every year, the American Association of People With Disabilities sponsors a REV UP Campaign to increase the political power of people with disabilities by sharing resources and getting folks registered to vote. In the last election, an estimated 38 million people with disabilities were eligible to vote, and we invite national, state, and local organizations to participate in NDVRW in order to continue to raise the disability voice and civic participation across the country in 2021 and beyond! Learn more and sign up as a partner.
For the first time in our 117-year history, Seventy has created a membership program to broaden, diversify and expand our community of local democracy-builders. Your membership also provides unique opportunities to meet civic leaders and policy experts, gain inside knowledge of the reform process, and connect with people who are passionate about our city and commonwealth.
Become a member today!