Committee of Seventy
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August 5, 2022

Strings that could tie the hands of county election officials

Just before PA legislators went home for the summer, they passed a measure that banned outside funding of elections and replaced it with $45 million in state funds for county election boards. It’s needed money, certainly, but it comes with strings that could keep some counties from accepting their funding. Chief among them: a requirement that mail-in ballots be counted “without interruption” and a 12:01 am deadline the day after the election for posting an unofficial count of mail-in and absentee ballots. “Our board wants to make sure we can handle this,” Erie County Clerk Julie Slumski told PA NPR.
What county boards really need:

Time before Election Day to process mail-in ballots. The requirement to wait until 7 am on Election Day puts severe strain on counties, slows the release of results, and stalls audit procedures. Best practice — which other states already do — is a 21-day, pre-election window for ballot processing.

An Rx for a healthy democracy

Vo+ER, a national organization of healthcare and civic-engagement organizations, has designated August as Civic Health Month. Their purpose is to “integrate voter registration into the healthcare system,” and in Philly, Vo+ER participants Penn Medicine and Jefferson facilitated voter registration and voting among patients and staff in 2020, and they’re among the 30+ allied PA institutions doing so again this year.
Vo+ER virtual conference:

C70 CEO Al Schmidt will discuss veterans' civic engagement, HHS guidelines for civic engagement in healthcare and more during an online panel discussion, Fri., Aug 12, 12:05 pm. Register.
Civic health is everybody’s health:

Seventy’s WeVote initiative galvanizes the business community, nonprofits, media partners and civic institutions, and calls on each to play a leadership role in their organization. Together, we can ensure a vibrant local democracy and prosperous democratic republic.
Caught Our Eye
The General Election is only three months away. Whether you're voting by mail or at the polls, be sure to plan ahead: Is your voter registration up-to-date? (Check here and register or update your registration). If voting by mail, have you requested a ballot? Know the issues. Know the candidates (look for our Voter Guide in the fall). Be a voter. And while voting is certainly necessary, we also know that it's not always sufficient. Visit to learn the 5 habits of effective, active citizens. And learn more about becoming a poll worker.

On Our Radar
How to be Philly’s mayor in 10 (not-so) easy lessons: In an Inquirer op-ed, former Mayor Michael Nutter ticks off 10 traits he thinks lead to success, from soliciting advice to taking responsibility for problems, even when they’re not your fault. Another is “Be a cheerleader.” Sometimes, that means jumping into a swimming pool with cameras rolling.

The November ballot could get more crowded: Libertarian, Green and Keystone party candidates filed nomination papers for Governor and U.S. Senator by the Aug. 1 deadline. Republicans and Democrats are likely to challenge signatures they collected to knock them off the ballot.

Put more steel into stopping the steal: In a Washington Post op-ed, law professors Laurence Tribe and Erwin Chemerinsky, and former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut point out shortcomings in the legislative rewrite of the 1887 Electoral Count Act and offer suggestions on how to tighten the bill. 

Get Involved

Apply for a Buchholz Fellowship

After a successful launch in 2017, our fifth cohort of Buchholz Fellows are concluding their year as “junior members” of C70’s Board of Directors. Now we’re seeking our sixth cohort. Buchholz Fellows are emerging young leaders (recommended age is 25-35ish) 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, a superior intellect and a passion for improving his community. Applications will be open until Friday, Aug. 26. Apply.

Become a Poll Worker

If you're thinking of becoming an essential worker for democracy, join us starting August 17th for "So you want to be a poll worker?" — an introductory poll worker training session available to election workers across the Commonwealth. Find the date that works best for your schedule. And the training opportunities don't stop there. Learn more about upcoming poll worker Q&A's, training sessions and 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 13, 1-4pm: 52nd Street Station (52nd & Market St)
Aug 20, 12-3pm: Philadelphia Branch NAACP (4458-B Germantown Ave)
Aug 6, 1-4pm: Jacobs Northwest (7165 Germantown Ave)
Aug 27, 1-4pm: Broad & Olney Transportation Center
Sept 26, 1-4pm: Germantown & Chelten

Algorithms & Anachronisms: How New Tech & Old Politics Are Holding Us Back

Wed., Aug. 10, 3 pm | Zoom

In a devastating critique of America’s social-media practices in The Atlantic, NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt warned that “If we do not make major changes soon, then our institutions, our political system, and our society may collapse.” Haidt will expand on that chilling prediction in an Open Primaries virtual discussion led by former Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and Open Primaries CEO John Opdyke. Register.

PA House State Government Committee Hearing on Open Primaries

Tues., Aug. 16, 10:30 am
John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts, 
Villanova University, 800 East Lancaster Ave., Villanova PA

Attend the hearing on the bipartisan measure to allow independent voters to cast ballots in either the R or D primary, or watch it on the General Assembly’s livestream. PA is one of only nine states that won’t allow nonaligned voters to cast ballots in taxpayer-funded primaries. Ballot PA is working to change that. Sign our petition.

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.