October 9, 2021
Nov. 2 Election: BYO Ballot

The Nov. 2 election for local and judicial offices across PA (including races for one seat apiece on the PA Supreme and Superior Courts and two on Commonwealth Court) is less than a month away, and some voters are already receiving their mail-in ballots. Time to build your own ballot with C70’s nonpartisan Voter Guide. Just type in your address and you’ll find information on all the candidates and ballot questions you’ll be deciding on. You can also print out your ballot or email it to yourself and take it with you to your polling place.
  • Drop it off: Here are secure drop-off locations for mail-in ballots in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
  • And if you’re not registered: The deadline is Oct. 18, and the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is Oct. 25. Learn more and register at VotePA.Gov.
Doc and Henon in the dock: “Philadelphia’s political ecosystem is on trial”

That Inquirer subhead sums it up—the federal bribery and corruption trial of IBEW Local 98 business manager John Dougherty and City Councilman Bobby Henon could, depending on its outcome, reshape the way Philly’s elected officials interact with power brokers who want favors from them. The striking fact that Henon draws a salary from the electricians’ union in addition to his Council salary begs the question: How do we know when Henon’s working for the residents of the 6th Council District and when he’s working for John Dougherty?
  • Take it to the bank: The Inquirer reports that Local 98 pays Henon more than $70,000 a year for his “untitled position,” and he earns $140,000 a year as a full-time City Council member.
Election “audit”: The intrusive and misguided distraction stalls for now

The Oct. 1 deadline for state and local election officials to transfer election materials and voter information to PA Senate Republicans passed with none of that happening. But to ensure the inquiry goes no further, voter-advocates Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and Make the Road have filed to join PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s lawsuit to quash the subpoenas. The lawmakers leading the inquiry announced that they wouldn’t hire a contractor to receive the election records until after the legal dust clears. Meanwhile, The Inquirer debunked Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward’s contention that outside entities could access the state’s voter database. Ward also acknowledged that the request for personal information was “intrusive.”
  • Seventy says: This partisan inquiry is a misguided attempt to respond to constituent concerns that were created and inflamed by falsehoods circulating on social media, cable television and elsewhere, including directly from former President Trump and his allies. Read our full statement.
  • We’re not alone: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board calls the demand for personal information an “overreach.” And right-leaning Broad + Liberty published a statement from PA Sen. Tim Kearney, a Montgomery County Democrat, calling on his GOP colleagues to “stop the new steal.”
Caught our eye
City Hall Roll Call is a summary of City Council’s weekly Stated Meeting by Lauren Vidas, an election lawyer and government relations specialist. Good government requires transparency, which is why C70 proudly sponsors this important work! 
On our radar
No show: A public hearing of the Senate State Government Committee on a bipartisan election-reform bill was cut short Tuesday when the Wolf administration declined to testify in person.
Council redistricting: Don’t expect major changes according to a WHYY explainer, and Sixty-six Wards has a political and demographic analysis of the current districts.
Straight talk on straight lines: Former state Democratic and Republican chairs Alan Novak and T.J. Rooney call for “a fair and transparent redistricting process” in a PennLive op-ed.
Police oversight: Applications are now being accepted for the nine slots on Philadelphia’s new Citizen Police Oversight Commission. The application deadline is Nov. 5.
Act locally: A study by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School stresses the overriding importance of local election officials in election administration.
Want to run for office? Snapchat can help: Axios reports that the digital platform has launched a "Run for Office" tool designed to help its13- to 24-year-old base "engage with democracy in an easy, native-to-mobile way"
Pay bump for NJ poll workers: Concerned about the possibility of a poll-worker shortage, Garden State governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order raising their pay from $200 to $300.
Beitler Distinguished Lecture: Conspiracy Theory and Political Culture, Past and Present
Tues., Oct. 19, 5:30 pm

Join Adrienne LaFrance, executive editor of The Atlantic, and Atlantic contributor James McAuley, the author of The House of Fragile Things, a history of Dreyfus-era France, for a conversation around the long history of conspiracy theory and its role in political culture, then and now. The discussion will be moderated by Sophia Rosenfeld, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. Presenting the event is the Penn’s Lorraine Beitler Distinguished Lecture Series. RSVP.
Get Involved
City Council Redistricting Workshops

Virtual, small-group workshops are being offered (now through Oct. 25) that aim to provide useful background on the Council redistricting process, insights on the impact of the 2020 Census, and how individuals and organizations can get involved. The updated schedule is here: seventy.org/drawphilly
PA High School Voter Education Challenge
Now through Oct. 18

The PA Departments of State and Education launched its fifth annual Governor’s Civic Engagement Award (GCEA) Program to promote student-led voter registration efforts on Tuesday, Sept. 28, National Voter Registration Day. “The GCEA program is a creative way to encourage civic education and engagement among Pennsylvania’s high-school students and cultivate the lifelong habit of voting," said Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid. Registration deadline for the Nov. 2 election is Monday, Oct. 18. Learn more.
Sign the Citizens’ Pledge to Fight Big Money in Elections

American Promise members in PA are launching a bipartisan campaign to make us the 23rd state to call for a constitutional amendment to stop big-money corruption. It would “reaffirm the power of citizens through their government to regulate the raising and spending of money in elections.” Learn more and sign the pledge.
For the first time in our 117-year history, 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!