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August 27, 2022

A new voter-registration form … with less than 3 months to go?

The PA Department of State’s new paper voter-registration application form, unveiled last week, also enables new registrants to apply for a mail-in ballot. This new paper form now mirrors the combined application that was already available online, but according to The Inquirer, local officials are concerned the new form could create administrative challenges and confuse voters. The new form, for example, moves the declaration and signature field to the back of the two-sided application, where a voter might miss it. Ultimately, the combined registration and mail-in application will be more efficient, but the change just ahead of a major election means voter education will be critical. Your move, local election officials.

We can help 

Election advisories from Seventy will keep you up to date on critical voting procedures and nonpartisan ballot info ahead of the election. Sign up.


Seventy’s WeVote initiative is working to galvanize the business community, media partners and major civic organizations to foster a culture of voting with our nonpartisan election resources. Learn more.

USA Today voter-rights project: Laws, lawsuits and other challenges around the USA


Gannett’s USA Today Network continues to update its comprehensive guide to election laws and voting rights in all 50 states, compiled by staffers for Gannett newspapers around the country. Pennsylvania’s guide was produced by the York Daily Record and reviews voting rights and the extensive election-law debate since no-excuse mail-in voting was authorized in 2019. The guide also identifies the four Pennsylvanians (out of nearly 7 million) who were convicted of casting illegal ballots in the 2020 presidential election.

“Not factual”

During a press conference Monday, PA House State Government Committee chair Seth Grove (R-York) batted down an allegation that there were more ballots cast than registered voters in the 2020 presidential election as “not factual” and said that, overall: “I don’t have evidence of fraud to bring forward.”

Caught Our Eye

Read all about it! Philly’s longstanding neighborhood newspapers have been joined in recent years by digital newcomers, creating a “hyperlocal” journalistic mosaic that encompasses much of the city and enables residents to follow everything from zoning battles to high-school sports. Billy Penn sorts them all out. (Image: Billy Penn)

On Our Radar

One legal battle over (for now): A Commonwealth Court judge ordered three counties to count the ballots cast by voters who neglected to handwrite a date on their ballot-return envelopes. According to The Inquirer, this could mean thousands of additional votes in future elections, but the matter also highlights the risks of county-level disputes in certifying election results.

Money with strings: The Inquirer reports that 63 of the state’s 67 counties are accepting the election grants authorized by the Legislature in July. But many worry about meeting the grant program’s stringent conditions—chiefly the requirement to process mail-in ballots round the clock beginning on Election Day.

More from Grove: At Monday’s session with reporters, the PA House State Government Committee chair said he didn’t expect an election-reform compromise this fall and was noncommittal on the open-primaries proposal that C70’s Ballot PA initiative is campaigning for.

Amendment abuse: PA’s League of Women Voters wants to join Gov. Tom Wolf’s legal challenge to the General Assembly’s move to bundle four controversial issues (on abortion access, voter ID, election audits and executive authority) into one proposed amendment to the state Constitution. It would also include the noncontroversial proposal to enable gubernatorial candidates to select their own running mates.

Fix the rules! In a Bucks County Courier Times op-ed, Eileen Walkowiak of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition urges the General Assembly to rein in the power of committee chairs, who can use procedural rules to bottle up popular bipartisan bills. Learn more about the campaign to #FixHarrisburg.

Get Involved

Apply for a Buchholz Fellowship

Our fifth cohort of Buchholz Fellows since 2017 is concluding its year as members of C70’s Board of Directors. Now we’re seeking a sixth cohort. Buchholz Fellows are emerging young leaders (recommended age is 25-35) working in the private or nonprofit sector who embody the qualities that longtime Seventy stalwart Carl Buchholz exhibited in his life and work: personal and professional integrity, a strong work ethic, collaborative spirit, and a passion for improving his community. The application deadline has been extended, until Monday, Aug. 29. Apply.

Become a Poll Worker

If you're thinking of becoming an essential worker for democracy, join us for "So you want to be a poll worker?" — an introductory poll worker training session available to prospective election workers across the commonwealth. Sessions on special procedures and general Q&As are also scheduled this fall. Learn more.


Voter Registration and Poll Worker Recruitment

The Philadelphia NAACP is partnering with Black Voters Matter and Millennials in Action to hosting register voters and recruit poll workers at events now through September:

Aug 27, 1-4pm: Broad & Olney Transportation Center

Sept 26, 1-4pm: Germantown & Chelten

Securing Your Vote: Business Briefing on PA Election Operations with Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman

Wed., Sept. 7, 10 am | Zoom

Seventy joins Business for America to present a briefing by Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman on the Department of State’s efforts to prepare for the November general election and how we can maximize the engagement of employees, customers and community members for it. The Pennsylvania business community plays an essential role by ensuring that accurate election information is distributed to its stakeholders so we all can have confidence that our elections are secure, accessible and efficient. Register.

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.
Become a Member today