July 2, 2021
Election overhaul and audit funding vetoed

Seventy opposed the election overhaul bill passed last week by the General Assembly because numerous components would hinder voters’ ability to cast ballots and create implementation challenges for counties. We’re relieved that Governor Wolf vetoed it. The Governor also used his line-item veto power to remove election-audit funding from the state budget that the Auditor General, Timothy DeFoor, didn’t request. But it’s unfortunate that positive aspects of House Bill 1300, including (but not limited to) a mandate and funding for electronic poll books statewide and more time to process mail-in ballots, haven’t become law yet. So we urge our legislative leaders and the Governor to engage in meaningful bipartisan discussions over the summer around the common sense changes that all sides can agree on. Read our full statement.
  • GOP case against election audit: “Baseless election-fraud allegations by fellow Republicans and conservatives distract from the focus on the various real occurrences of fraud and undermine the credibility of those making fraud allegations,” former GOP leader William Cinfici writes in the National Review.
  • PA security expert weighs in: Chris Deluzio, policy director for Pitt Cyber, makes the case in The Hill for codifying and funding risk-limiting audits as a critical election integrity reform.
RCV in NYC: A bump in a road worth traveling

New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, the city’s first election to be decided by ranked-choice voting, has become a “debacle”, with retracted tallies and general confusion. The result isn’t expected to be announced for another two weeks. While the rollout of a new complex system can encounter issues, ranked-choice voting wasn't the cause of thisfiasco; the incompetence of New York City’s Election Board was. Described as “plagued by dysfunction and nepotism,” the 10-member board is composed of five Rs and five Ds recommended by the party leaders of the five boroughs and formally selected by City Council. 
  • Nonetheless…The Inquirer’s editorial board thinks that RCV is “worth exploring in Philadelphia,” noting that New York City voters expressed enthusiasm about it, and that former Philly Mayors John Street and Michael Nutter, and DA Larry Krasner all received less than 40% of the vote in the primaries that first brought them to office. We agree.
Caught our eye
PA voter-registration update in 2021: Key: Navy: D+5,000 or more; Blue: D+1,001 to +4,999; Light blue: D+1 to +1,000. Light Salmon: R+1 to +1,000: Red: R+1,001 to +4,999: Maroon: R+5,000 or more. (Courtesy of Pennsylvania Capital-Star.)
On our radar
What’s next for redistricting reform? Anti-gerrymandering advocates are relying on promises from those in charge of drawing the state’s political maps to hold hearings and allow citizen input, according to Spotlight PA.
One man’s quest to break open the secretive world of voting machines: Politico Magazine follows Wharton graduate student Matthew Caulfied as he seeks information about the three companies that manufacture and sell voting equipment to just about all of America’s 3,000 counties.
Hangover in Harrisburg: The Inquirer and Penn Live explore the failure of the General Assembly to pass uncontroversial legislation that would enable PA restaurants and bars to continue to sell cocktails-to-go as yet another example of political dysfunction.
Little more sunshine: A measure authored by Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette, Somerset) was signed into law that would require agendas for public meetings be posted at least 24 hours ahead of time, Penn Live reports.
Another scandal in the 190th? Billy Penn reports that PA Rep. Amen Brown has been implicated in charges of deed fraud. In the last three years, two of the legislators who represented the West Philly district had to resign following criminal convictions.
Happy 245th, America! Best wishes for a Glorious Fourth of July from the Committee of Seventy.
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