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September 24, 2022

Electoral College reform gains filibuster-proof support

Sen. Pat Toomey announced this week his support of the Electoral Count Reform Act (ECA), becoming the 11th Republican senator to back changes to the Electoral College that would reduce the risk of a legitimate election being overturned. The Senate version of the reform was authored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME), but an alternative House proposal by Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) may present the last major hurdle. Final approval of a reform bill reconciled between the two chambers will likely have to take place in the narrow window of time between the November 8 midterm elections and the new year. “The poor drafting of the 1887 Electoral Count Act endangered the transition of power from one administration to the next,” Toomey said. “It is past time for Congress to act.”

Election deniers raise stakes: The data blog FiveThirtyEight recently reported 60% of Americans will see a candidate in the midterm elections who denies that President Joe Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election. In some races, including for governor in Pennsylvania, the outcome could influence election processes and the selection of presidential electors in 2024.

C70 lobbies for reform: CEO Al Schmidt has been among the advocates making the case to U.S. senators that Electoral Count modernization has to be a top election-reform priority.

Ethics Board targets “redboxing” loophole ahead of 2023

The city’s Ethics Board voted Wednesday to ban redboxing, where candidate campaigns attempt to communicate with super PACs by posting indirect instructions in public. Federal law prohibits coordination between candidate campaigns and super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited resources to influence elections. The board had previously issued regulations to prevent campaigns from publishing video footage of candidates that could then be picked up by outside groups and turned into campaign ads. The decision this week will tighten the rules further, preventing a campaign from posting to its website requests that specific voters should hear specific messages about a specific candidate.

The money is coming: The stronger ethics rules are being approved ahead of the 2023 municipal elections that will feature an open mayor’s race and substantial turnover in City Council. Torrents of money spent primarily through super PACs are expected ahead of the Democratic primaries in the spring.

Caught Our Eye

The Phanatic, @GrittyNHL and @SixersFranklin joined Seventy, the Philadelphia City Commissioners and Mayor Kenney to highlight National Voter Registration Day. See the coverage from CBS3 and learn how to register at Vote.PA.Gov.

On Our Radar

Sunlight or harassment? Election officials in Pennsylvania and other battleground states are being inundated with right-to-know requests for election records, many of which seem to be coordinated with partisan actors peddling 2020 election falsehoods, according to PennLive.

Election bills move: Penn Capital-Star reviews legislation focused on voter list maintenance and ballot security, which passed with unanimous support in the state House this week. But further changes may be required in the Senate to ensure gubernatorial approval.

Wild west of gifts: Spotlight PA highlights the lavish trips and campaign dollars that lawmakers enjoy from with few restrictions or transparency as skill-games manufacturers and casinos vie for profits in the Keystone State.

“Tweets and Consequences”: City & State explores the evolution of social-media use to troll and fundraise in the 2022 midterm races for U.S. Senate and governor.

Democracy Hall of Famers: Pennsylvania’s Voter Hall of Fame features nearly 24,000 super voters who haven’t missed a general election contest in 50 years. Learn how to earn a spot.

White smoke from city Dems: The Inquirer reports Democratic ward leaders have selected City Council staffer Sharon Vaughn and former Senate aide Jimmy Harrity as the nominees for at-large special elections that will coincide with the November 8 general election.


How young people can impact the upcoming election

Tue., Sept. 27, 6 pm | Zoom

C70 is partnering with Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP) to host a virtual event featuring Sister Taleah of the City of Dreams Coalition, Scott Seeborg from All Voting Is Local and Brittany Smalls from C70. Morgan Robinson, president of YIP, will moderate a discussion about empowerment and understanding that your vote has the potential to make change. The speakers will cover issues of accessibility, overcoming threats to election integrity, and other ways people can participate beyond the ballot box. RSVP.

Ballot PA Vets Western PA Kickoff

Wed., Sep. 28 noon - 2 pm | Brentwood VFW Post 1810

Join Steelers legend Rocky Bleier, former Auditor General Jack Wagner, Ballot PA Chair David Thornburgh and local veterans in Brentwood, PA for lunch and a discussion about why closed primaries disenfranchise a large portion of former service-members in Pennsylvania. Learn more and RSVP.

The State of Elections: A Q&A with PA’s Secretary of State

Thurs., Sept. 29, 6 pm | Zoom

Spotlight PA will be joined by Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman, who oversees elections in Pennsylvania. Chapman will discuss how her agency secures and runs elections, explain the state’s voting policies, and answer all of your more pressing election questions. Send your election questions to and have answered them live. Register.

Ballot PA Vets and Veterans for Political Innovation Rally

Fri., Sep. 30, 3:30 - 5 pm | Lititz VFW Post 1463

Join Ballot PA and special guest, Veterans for Political Innovation founder Eric Bronner in Lititz, PA to hear why this national group of veterans has decided to endorse Ballot PA’s campaign to repeal closed primaries. Learn more and RSVP.

NLM Celebrates: Democracy 101

Sat., Oct. 1, 11 am - 4 pm | National Liberty Museum

Join the National Liberty Museum (NLM), League of Women Voters and Seventy for a day of myth-busting workshops and review of the upcoming midterm ballot. NLM staff will also share tools to navigate misinformation and political spin. Register.

Fix Harrisburg Fall Forum

Wed., Oct. 12, 7 - 8:30 pm (new date!) | Zoom

Why did Fair Districts PA and the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania launch the #FixHarrisburg campaign? What change is possible? How can you help to get bipartisan bills most Pennsylvanians actually want to see enacted out of the committees where they’re stuck because powerful committee chairs sit on them? Find out at the Fix Harrisburg Fall Forum.

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.
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