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November 11, 2022

Nov. 8 midterms: County election offices pull through

As is typical after every election, a small number of ballots are still being reviewed and processed, but the good news is that across the Commonwealth, county elections officials reported few major issues, the most significant of which was a lack of paper ballots in Luzerne County. But control of the PA House hasn’t yet been determined. Republicans plan to challenge provisional ballots cast at polling places by voters who made mistakes in returning their mail-in ballots; meanwhile, Democrats have filed in federal court, arguing that handwritten dates on ballot-return envelopes are immaterial to the ballot integrity and should not cause votes to be rejected. Each of these issues could be easily resolved with long-needed election reform, which may have better prospects next year.

And the winners are… Here are the unofficial results for Philadelphia and statewide. Use The Inquirer’s search tool to find the results for your address.

Solid turnout in Philly: Almost half of the city’s approximately one million registered voters cast ballots—the second highest number since 1990, fewer only than in 2018.

Limbo: Even if they win the most PA House seats, Democrats might not have a majority when the 2023-24 session begins in January because of three vacancies that will need to be filled after special elections. Republicans would retain control until those elections are certified.

City Council: Back to full strength after specials

The Democratic candidates in the special elections for the four City Council seats left vacant by members who resigned to run for mayor (or consider running for mayor) swamped their Republican and minor-party opponents Tuesday and will be sworn in later this month, after their elections are certified. Quetcy Lozada (District 7) Anthony Phillips (District 9), and Sharon Vaughn and Jim Harrity (At-Large) were chosen to run for the seats by Democratic Ward leaders. Should they choose to run next year for full terms, they’d have to face the party voters in the May 16 Democratic primary.

Crowning achievement: An Inquirer editorial critiques the opaque process used by the Democratic party to select special election candidates, likening their selections to coronations. “While other cities have implemented changes to include more voters in the process of selecting candidates to fill sudden Council vacancies,” The Inky asserts, “Philly remains mired in a system that serves insiders best.”

Caught Our Eye

Seventy sponsored parties at the polls with partners PA Youth Vote, League of Women Voters, SEAMAAC, Pizza to the Polls and the 76ers. Bring some joy back to elections.

On Our Radar

Waltzing to Harrisburg: Thirty-six percent of PA’s 228 General Assembly races this year (81 or 228) had only one candidate, Northwestern University graduate journalism student Grant Schwab told WITF, Harrisburg’s NPR station. The major reason is the state’s stark rural-urban population divide.

Can newspapers survive another recession? Axios reports that another downturn could threaten the embattled newspaper industry, whose two highest cost centers — labor and paper distribution — soared in the wake of the pandemic. And "unlike the pandemic, there won’t be rescue funds flowing to prop up their balance sheets," said James McDonald of Access Global Advisors.

Meet Christy Brady: Mayor Kenney chose Brady, a longtime Deputy Controller who currently oversees the office’s audit bureau, to temporarily replace her former boss, Rebecca Rhynhart, who resigned to run for mayor. Brady will hold the post until a special can be called to fill the final three-plus years of Rhynhart’s term—unless City Council selects someone else, as state law and the City Charter says it can.

Allegheny County axes resign to run: Voters in PA’s second largest county passed a ballot measure Tuesday repealing the resign-to-run requirement for members of its County Council seeking other elected offices. The margin was 58-42.


Midterm Election Recap

Wed., Nov. 16, 12 noon | Zoom

Join the Forum of Executive Women for a review of the recent midterm elections and what they mean for Pennsylvania and the nation going forward. Panelists include Philadelphia 3.0 executive director Ali Perelman; C70 CEO Al Schmidt; and Ashley Session, the deputy PA state director of America Votes and a C70 Buchholz Fellow. The moderator is C70 chief program officer Lauren Cristella, who also chairs the Forum’s Public Sector Leadership Committee. RSVP.

Impact of the Midterm Elections on PA's Business Climate & Health of Our Democracy

Tue., Nov. 15, 12 noon | Zoom

The results of the November election will have a consequential impact on the health of the state’s economy and democracy. Join Business for America for a discussion on how the state of politics may influence the Commonwealth’s ability to retain its competitive edge, attract industry, and encourage or discourage collaboration among lawmakers on issues important to Pennsylvanians. Speakers include Philadelphia Inquirer editorial writer Dan Pearson, Laura Putnum of PittCyber, Fair Districts PA executive director Carol Kuniholm and Aizaz Gill, Business for America's policy director. RSVP.

Informed: Conversations on Democracy in the Digital Age

Nov. 28 - 30 | Online

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation presents a three-day virtual conference where 30-plus policymakers, researchers and private-sector executives will discuss the latest trends and research in this emerging field at the intersection of technology, media and democracy. Discussions will focus on election and information integrity, and the role of government and journalists in protecting; policies that can reduce online hate and harassment and protect equal access to digital space; and competition in the tech sector, among others. RSVP.

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