June 24, 2022
PA election funding: Committee leaders giveth and taketh away

Republican and Democratic leaders in Harrisburg agreed in principle Wednesday to ban outside grant funding for election administration while providing new resources to relieve beleaguered county election offices. The devil will be in the details-to-come, and there’s no word yet whether Gov. Tom Wolf will be on board, but it’s encouraging.
  • What else needs to be in any voting bill? More time to pre-canvass mail-in ballots before Election Day and the ability to fix “fatal flaws” in returned ballots, such as missing dates or the lack of a secrecy envelope.
  • GOP wants more poll watchers: The House State Government Committee advanced a measure that would allow partisan poll watchers to operate in any county and increase the number of watchers allowed in a polling place from two to three. Gov. Wolf is “strongly” opposed.
  • And an earlier presidential primary: The Committee also approved a bill to move up PA’s 2024 presidential primary from April to March. Lisa Schaefer of the County Commissioners Association noted a March primary date would require candidates to circulate nominating petitions during the holiday season.
As City Council adjourns for the summer, look for 2023’s mayoral race to heat up

Philadelphia City Council adjourned for the summer Thursday after approving a $5.8 billion 2022-23 budget. For several members, this may be their final acts as lawmakers before formally entering the 2023 mayoral race — although as WHYY explains, those planning to run have been signaling their priorities to voters. The Inquirer also reports that the budget’s cuts to wage and business taxes could indicate a shift in Philly politics back towards the center (like New York City saw with last year’s mayoral victory by Eric Adams). Our primary elections are still 10 months away, but turnover in Council could happen much sooner because of …
  • The City Charter’s resign-to-run rule: Since 1951, city officials and employees must step down from their posts to run for any elected office. That means Council members running for mayor will have to resign, as would Controller Rebecca Rhynhart. Billy Penn explains the reasons for and against resign-to-run, which Seventy has said should be eliminated.
City Hall Roll Call
C70 proudly sponsors City Hall Roll Call, a weekly summary of City Council’s Stated Meetings by Lauren Vidas, an election lawyer and government relations specialist.
Caught Our Eye
An Inquirer deep dive into the May primary electorate finds higher turnout, more voter enthusiasm and a geographic sorting between partisan voters that shows no signs of abating.
On our radar
Repeal closed primaries: In a Pottstown Mercury op-ed, former PA Auditor General Jack Wagner, a Vietnam War Purple Heart recipient, urges Pennsylvanians to contact their legislators to support bipartisan legislation that would repeal closed primaries in PA.

Progress on open wards: The number of wards in Philly where elected committee members have meaningful input into endorsements and ward governance increased from 10 to 13 (out of 66), reports Philadelphia 3.0. Learn more at Open Wards Philly.

Fix Harrisburg 1: MarchOnHarrisburg activists constructed (and immediately tore down) a "wall of corruption" outside the PA State Capitol Tuesday to illustrate their demand to ban legislative gifts.

Fix Harrisburg 2: A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial endorses a measure proposed by PA Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York) to toughen legislative rules around sexual harrassment.

“Financial chaos” at the PPA: The Inquirer reports on City Council’s probe of the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s operations and the abrupt ouster of executive director Scott Petri.
Get Involved
Fix Harrisburg: Sign the petition to change legislative rules

Many important reforms never get a vote in the PA General Assembly because legislative rules concentrate power in the hands of few. Majority leaders and committee chairs control the agenda and can consistently block popular, bipartisan bills from even receiving a hearing for public debate. But these rules aren’t set in stone—or in the state constitution. They’re passed at the beginning of each legislative session. Research by Fair Vote and the Bipartisan Policy Center shows Pennsylvania has an agenda fairness score of zero. Fair Districts PA and the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania have organized a Fix Harrisburg campaign to demand better rules. Sign the petition.
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