Philly’s Own Joanna McClinton Elected PA House Democratic Leader

Philadelphia representative Joanna McClinton will make history as the new Democratic House leader after yesterday’s caucus leadership elections, after current leader Rep. Frank Dermody unexpectedly lost his general election race. Rep. McClinton will be the highest-ranking woman to serve in the General Assembly’s 244-year history and the highest-ranking Black woman at that. Continue reading

Supreme Court Again Declines to End PA’s Mail Ballot Deadline Extension, For Now

The Supreme Court ruled this week for a second time that Pennsylvania mail ballots received by Friday, November 6th—three days after Election Day—can be counted, affirming the Wolf administration’s position on the extended ballot deadline. Hopefully, this will lay to rest the last remaining lawsuit that was still in play heading into Election Day next Tuesday. Continue reading

Delayed Mail Counts: Stalling Tactic or Capacity Issue?

Several PA counties have now announced that they won’t begin counting mail ballots on Election Day, as they are allowed to under state law, and will instead start counting on Wednesday morning, on November 4th. Continue reading

PA Registered Democrats Have Returned Almost a Million More Mail Ballots Than Republicans

(Image: U.S. Elections Project) Five days from Election Day, registered Democrats have an almost 1 million-vote advantage over registered Republicans due to returned mail ballots. Registered Democrats have returned 1,429,082 ballots, while Republicans have returned 466,954—a difference of 962,128 votes. Unaffiliated voters have returned 202,686 ballots. Continue reading

Don't Drop Off Anybody Else's Mail Ballot

Attorney General Josh Shapiro says he is looking into the possibility of voter intimidation from Trump campaign staff who have been taking videos of Philadelphia voters depositing ballots into dropboxes, the New York Times reports.   Continue reading

PA Republicans Fail to Pass a Pre-Canvassing Bill in Time

(Photo: House Speaker Bryan Cutler | WITF) After a brief window of hope that Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature would take up the mail ballot pre-canvassing bill again at the last minute, the bill is officially dead, with the legislature finishing out their last session day before Election Day on Wednesday with no action on county election officials’ top policy ask. Continue reading

What Do We Know So Far About Philly Early Voters?

A little over two weeks into Philadelphia's early voting period, 155,838 people have voted, and about 40% of the requested mail ballots have been returned already. Election officials can't start counting those early votes until Election Day morning, but because the voter file information is public, and so is information about who specifically has voted, it's possible to make some inferences about where things stand based on statistics.  The polling and targeting firm TargetSmart has a great new website breaking down the different variables for several different states, counties, and Congressional Districts based on publicly-available voter information from state voter files. The site is being updated regularly with new information about who has voted. Let's take a look at some of the big trends the data show about who's cast their ballots already.  Continue reading

The Political Allure of Making Things Work Again

(Rebecca Rhynhart | Image: Philly Mag) The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare a lot of unnerving weaknesses in our government institutions at all levels, especially local government, with core municipal responsibilities like how to keep the sanitation services running seeming to elude our elected officials for most of this past summer. Of course, a lot of what's gone on has to do with the specific circumstances caused by the pandemic. But as former Zero Waste cabinet lead Nic Esposito pointed out in an op-ed about the trash situation earlier this year, a lot of it also has to do with inherently fragile systems that were always ready to crumble at the first sign of strain. Continue reading

Mayor Kenney's First Veto Shows How He Can Take a Stand Against Out-of-Control Councilmanic Prerogative

Mayor Kenney issued the first veto of his time in office this week, and the subject of his disapproval was a rezoning bill introduced by 1st District Councilmember Mark Squilla for Society Hill that his Planning Commission appointees and staff had criticized as perpetuating exclusionary zoning. Continue reading

Mail Ballot "Pre-Canvassing" Bill Getting Another Look in Harrisburg

(County officials really want to start opening and verifying the mail ballots before Election Day | Photo: City Commissioners) Processing mail-in ballots before Election Day would speed up the vote count, and it’s something Democrats and Republicans in Harrisburg generally agree local election officials should be allowed to do. But they haven’t been able to get it done because House Republicans have insisted on tying this to a rollback of expanded voting access features like dropboxes and satellite election offices. House Republicans passed a bill to that effect, but Governor Wolf has promised to veto it, and the votes aren’t there for an override. Continue reading