April 30, 2021
The May Primary Election is here

In-person voting is still two and a half weeks away, but many voters who requested mail-in ballots have already received them; and drop boxes (and a few satellite election offices) are open in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. If you want a mail-in ballot but haven’t applied yet you have until May 11 at 5 pm to do so, but don’t wait because turnaround time becomes shorter the longer you wait, and your ballot must be returned to your election board by 8 pm on May 18. Postmarks will not count! And you won’t be able to vote at all in the primary if you aren’t registered—the deadline for that is Monday, May 3. Check your registration, and if needed register or update your information—only R’s and D’s can vote for candidates in PA's closed primary elections. Every registered voter can weigh in the ballot questions.
  • Vote smart: Build your own ballot with C70’s BYOBallot Tool. Type in your address and you’ll find information on candidates and ballot questions you’ll be voting on in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. Hear from candidates in Studio C70 interviews.
  • How to choose judges: The Philadelphia Bar Association makes the case for using their ratings. WHYY and the Philadelphia Citizen have useful judicial-election guides.
  • Poll worker resources: C70 is offering info sessions and additional resources. Learn more.
  • Vaccines for Philly poll workers: The City Commissioners and Penn Medicine will run a vaccination drive May 1 at School of the Future. Learn more.
  • More Drop Boxes for Bucks: Bucks Voices is calling on the Bucks County Commissioners to install more than their current four drop boxes, far fewer than nearby counties. Sign the Petition.
2020 Census results: The first shoe drops

To no one’s surprise, PA will lose one of its 18 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives (as well as one of its 20 votes in the Electoral College) as a result of the nationwide population data released by the Census Bureau on Monday. PA is one of seven states to lose a seat. Five states will gain one seat and Texas will gain two. When detailed results of population changes within the state are released (in August at the earliest), redistricting can begin—for both the General Assembly and Congress.
  • Keep in mind: “The redistricting process in each state still matters a lot more than reapportionment,” The Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman tweets. “For example, AL keeping seven seats keeps D hopes alive of suing to create a second Black majority district. MN keeping eight could prevent an R from getting axed.” Wasserman elaborates in a Cook blog post.
  • Almost lost two: Philadelphia 3.0 points out that PA nearly lost two seats and argues that lack of housing supply restrains population growth.
When the game of musical chairs begins...

Considering the frosty relationship between the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which will draw the lines for PA’s congressional districts, and Gov. Wolf, who has veto power over the process, the 18-into-17 game of musical chairs could easily become a game of thrones that could end up in the courts. State legislative redistricting might end up that way, too, but could potentially be less fractious if a trustworthy, consensus-building chair is chosen by the four sitting members of the Legislative Redistricting Commission (the D and R leaders in the House and Senate). The deadline to name the chair is today, and if the legislative leaders (Senate majority Kim Ward, Senate minority leader Jay Costa, House majority leader Kerry Benninghoff and House Minority leader Joanna McClinton) can’t agree on that choice, it’ll be up to the PA Supreme Court to do it. We’ll keep you posted. 
  • Amen to this… “For once, let’s hope the process is driven by fair representation of all Pennsylvanians, and not by the political calculations of a handful of politicians and their hired lawyers and academics,” Kadida Kenner, the former director of Why Courts Matter, writes in a PA Capital-Star op-ed.
  • Voteswagon back home: After 49 stops and 2,089 miles, the Great Pennsylvania 2021 Voteswagon Tour to promote a fair redistricting process concluded Tuesday at Coney Island (that’s Coney Island Lunch in Johnstown), following a stop in Pittsburgh the day before. Here’s a round-up of media coverage of the tour.
Caught our eye
Seventy’s new annual report is hot off the presses.
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On our radar
Views on voting reform: PA House State Government Committee chair Seth Grove says he wants laws that make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat” in a WFMZ op-ed. Meanwhile, an editorial in the York Dispatch, Grove’s hometown paper, asserts that “election legislation should make voting easier. Period.”
Follow that paper trail: “Experts say there’s one very effective way for state legislatures to make the voting process more secure,” FiveThirtyEight reports. “Pass legislation to update voting machines.”
A different view of “corrupt and contented”: In a Washington Post op-ed, the Smithsonian Institution’s Jon Grinspan suggests that gilded-age reformers (which would have included Seventy’s founders) used their battles against political corruption to stymie working-class voters, leading to lower turnouts for more than a century.
Gov. twofer bill advances: PennLive reports that the state Senate approved a bill Tuesday to pass a proposed constitutional amendment that would have a party’s gubernatorial nominee choose the candidate to be their lieutenant governor.
Pay to play at PSERS? PA’s embattled public-school pension fund invested in a firm controlled by a Pittsburgh businessman who donated to the state Democratic Party (among other political organizations around the U.S.) two days later. When asked about it by The Inquirer, both the businessman and the Ds said it was a mistake.
Do we really need this? PA policymakers are reviewing regulations scrapped temporarily during pandemic to see whether they should be axed for good, according to the AP.
Al Schmidt on CNN: “The biggest thing anyone can do to restore confidence in the election and election results is, obviously, to stop lying about them,” Philadelphia’s Republican City Commissioner said on CNN’s New Day.
The May Primary: A Spotlight PA Guide to the Judicial Candidates and Ballot Questions
Tues., May 4, 5 pm

This May, Registered Democrats and Republicans will head to the polls to consider judicial candidates — including one for the state Supreme Court — while all registered PA voters (that includes you, independents and minority-party members!) will be asked to consider four ballot questions---two of them, pertaining to Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency powers, have caused a stir during the pandemic. Join Spotlight PA deputy editor Sarah Anne Hughes and WHYY politics reporter Katie Meyer as they break down what you need to know before you vote. Plus, they’ll answer your questions. Register.
The Future of Democracy in PA and the U.S.: Does it Have One?
Wed., May 5, 5-6:30 pm

The Sunday Breakfast Club will take a multi-pronged look at the struggle to preserve and fix American democracy. An impressive array of guest speakers will speak to different reform and election protection efforts at the national, state and local levels. Panelists include David Daley of FairVote and author of Unrigged; Adam Ambrogi, director of the Elections and Voting Program at the Democracy Fund; Sam Wang, founder of the Princeton Election Consortium and Representable; Khalif Ali, the new head of Common Cause PA; Jen Devor, founder of the new Better Civics nonprofit; Meghan Pierce, executive director of the League of Women Voters of PA; and Justin Villere, the managing director of Draw the Lines. Register.
Philadelphia District Attorney Debate
Tues., May 5, 7 pm
KYW Newsradio, NBC10, Telemundo62 and streaming on Audacity

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and former Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega, Krasner’s opponent in the May 18 Democratic primary, square off in a campaign debate at KYW’s Philadelphia studios. KYW Newsradio crime-and-justice reporter Kristen Johanson, community-affairs reporter Cherri Gregg, and NBC10 political reporter Lauren Mayk pose questions. NBC10 anchor Jacqueline London is the moderator. Stream on Audacity.
Citizen Book Club: Millennials Are Not the Problem
Thurs., May 6, 7 pm

Join Philadelphia Citizen co-founder Larry Platt for an evening with journalist (and millennial) Jill Filopovic, author of OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind. Filopovich shows that millennials are not the avocado-toast-eating snowflakes of boomer outrage fantasies. She upends dated assumptions with revelatory data and paints a revealing portrait of America’s most educated, most engaged, yet least wealthy generation. Register.
Civic Saturday: Voice Your Vote
May 8, 11 am-12 noon

Join emerging civic leaders for original music, poetry, and discussion about the upcoming election on May 18. Learn who and what are on the ballot and how you can make an immediate impact in your community by voicing your vote. This gathering is part of a nation-wide movement of citizenship hosted by CitizenUniversity's Civic Saturday Program, in partnership with BetterCivics, RECPhilly and CampusPhilly. Register.
Breaking Down Barriers: Women’s Way Annual Celebration
Thurs., May 13, 5:30-6:30 pm

Join Women’s Way virtually for their 43rd Annual Celebration: Breaking Down Barriers, as they honor women across the nation whose work reflects a commitment to the values of equity and justice. This year’s Lucretia Mott Honoree is Aimee Allison, for her work as the founder and president of She the People, a national network elevating the voice and power of women of color. Featuring performances by Drum Like A Lady and Project Capoeira, inspiring stories, and keynote speeches from our honorees, this event will raise crucial funds to support the work of Women’s Way in the movement towards gender equity. Learn more.
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