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September 2, 2022

Campaign season officially opens with no shortage of guest stars

President Biden was in Scranton on Tuesday, at Independence Hall Thursday evening and will be in Pittsburgh on Monday. Also in Scranton, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy gave a prebuttal to the president’s Thursday speech. And former President Trump will stump for Republicans in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. Given Pennsylvania’s swing-state status, the national importance of our gubernatorial and senatorial races and the stark divides between the major parties, it's no surprise. "I think Pennsylvanians should get used to a lot of visits in the months and years ahead,” Seventy CEO Al Schimdt told CBS News.

Bipartisan consensus on one thing:

In his Thursday speech, President Biden warned that our democracy is “under assault,” and Americans broadly agree. A Quinnipiac poll out this week finds that Republicans and Democrats both say (69% each) that “the nation’s democracy is in danger of collapse.”

Vets report for duty in the campaign for open primaries


More than a million Pennsylvania voters can’t participate in our primary elections because they aren’t registered as Republicans or Democrats. Some 400,000 of them are military vets—approximately half of PA vets overall. So Ballot PA, C70’s initiative pressing to allow these citizens to vote in elections their taxes pay for, has launched Ballot PA Veterans to Repeal Closed Primaries. Co-chairs include Pittsburgh Steelers legend Rocky Bleier, a Vietnam Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient; and retired Brigadier General Wilbur Wolf, a former director of joint staff for the Pennsylvania National Guard. Sign the petition for open primaries.

Vets commandeer the Voteswagon:

Vets commandeer the Voteswagon: Ballot PA Vets will head out across the state in the Voteswagon for a statewide tour with veterans and bipartisan leaders to highlight the disproportionate impact closed primaries have on former service members. First stop: Veterans Memorial Park in Doylestown (Tues., Sept. 6, 3 pm). See the full schedule.

Caught Our Eye

New election website: The Philadelphia City Commissioners launched a new website——ahead of the November midterms with critical info for voters, candidates and poll workers. WHYY has more details.

On Our Radar

Election advice: The Election Law Advisory Board considered ways to improve mail-in ballot deadlines and return options, including drop boxes, on Monday in Harrisburg, WFMZ reports.

Mail-in disparity a two-edged sword for GOP: According to Lancaster Online, only a quarter as many Republicans have applied for mail-in ballots as have Democrats this year. The partisan rhetoric around mail-in ballots “has helped [some] Republicans in Republican primaries,” said C70 CEO Al Schmidt, but “it will likely hurt them in the general election.”

An early line on the mayor’s race: With time running short to put special elections on the Nov. 8 midterm ballot, Philadelphia magazine speculates on which of the current Council members rumored to be in the mayoral mix will resign their seats so they can run.

All the better to see you with: Spotlight PA reports that PA’s lobbyist disclosure website is getting an upgrade to make it more user-friendly.

#SaveLocalNews: A Washington Post survey of the beleaguered newspaper industry focuses on Gannet (which lost $54 million in 2022’s second quarter). Overall the industry shed 40,000 newsroom jobs between 2008 and 2020.

Get Involved

Become a Poll Worker

If you're thinking of becoming an essential worker for democracy, join us for "So you want to be a poll worker?" — an introductory poll worker training session available to prospective election workers across the commonwealth. Sessions on special procedures and general Q&As are also scheduled this fall. Learn more.


Securing Your Vote: Business Briefing on PA Election Operations

Mon., Sept. 12, 1:30 pm (*new time*) | Zoom

Business for America presents a briefing by Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman on the Department of State’s efforts to prepare for the November general election and how we can maximize the engagement of employees, customers and community members for it. The Pennsylvania business community plays an essential role by ensuring that accurate election information is distributed to its stakeholders so we all can have confidence that our elections are secure, accessible and efficient. Register.

Fixing Outmoded Election Laws for Business and the Economy

Tues., Sept. 13, 3:30 pm | Zoom

Election-law experts Rick Pildes (NYU) and Ned Foley (Ohio State University) and Stanford University political scientists Larry Diamond and Did Kuo offer insights on election-law legislation, particularly the bipartisan Electoral Count Reform Act, and consider reform priorities in an online forum moderated by Robin Weaver, president emerita of the Women’s National Republican Club. Register.

PA Youth Voting Summit

Sat., Sept. 17, 9 am - 5 pm | CCP | 1700 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia

Campus Vote Project’s seventh Pennsylvania Youth Voting Summit invites participants to come together for a day of civic learning, reflection, and organizing. The event is open to high school and college students, faculty and administrators, and partners actively engaged in the nonpartisan youth voting space. Register for the event and learn more about C70’s Youth Civics program.

For the first time since our founding in 1904, 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