Committee of Seventy
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August 12, 2022

Repeal closed primaries: From polarization to persuasion

The effort to repeal PA’s closed primaries will receive an important public airing Tuesday (Aug. 16), when the House State Government Committee holds its first hearing on a bill that would enable the Commonwealth’s million-plus independent voters to cast ballots in either the Democratic or Republican primaries. Partisan voters would still be prohibited from voting in another party’s primary. The event is at Villanova University’s John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts and will be live streamed at 10:30 am. Ballot PA chair and Seventy senior advisor David Thornburgh will testify.
Why do we need this?

Closed primaries encourage candidates to “play to the base,” deepening the polarization already crippling our politics. Independent voters (14% of the PA electorate and growing) aren’t part of anybody’s base, and 52% of these voters call themselves “moderate,” according to our research. That “can help lower the temperature of our political dialogue and push us back toward a politics based on persuasion,” former C70 David Thornburgh wrote recently in a Real Clear PA essay. Find out more from Ballot PA. Sign our petition.
Caught Our Eye
Help America Vote: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has designated Tuesday, Aug. 16 as National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. Learn more about becoming an essential worker for democracy at an upcoming information session — RSVP.
On Our Radar
What we need in a mayor: Former Mayor Ed Rendell praises his successor Michael Nutter’s Inquirer op-ed listing 10 traits Philly’s next mayor should possess and, in an op-ed of his own, adds another: Courage. “Whoever becomes mayor must govern without being influenced by what effect their decisions would have on the chance of being reelected,” Rendell writes.

Election-certification mess: The PA Department of State blamed “human error” for certifying a Butler County primary election in which undated mail-in ballots were not counted, a practice the state asserts is inaccurate. According to the Inquirer, the mistake complicates a lawsuit initiated by the Department against three other counties that also opted to reject undated ballots.

Pass Harrisburg gift reform: A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial lists the pros and cons of lobbying, and urges the PA legislature to lower gift limits and toughen reporting requirements: “The public needs to know that their representatives are being convinced by arguments, not by expensive meals and tickets and trips.”

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 C70 Member

Join Us in Our Campaign for Better Government. As a member, your donation will help power C70's campaign for better government in Philadelphia and across the state. Plus, all members gain exclusive access to the tools they need to become more empowered citizens. Together we'll work to build trust in our democracy & each other. Join us.
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

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.