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

Mail Ballot "Pre-Canvassing" Looks Dead

(A small fraction of the ballots that currently can't be sorted or verified until Election Day morning | Photo: City Commissioners) One of the big issues that will determine the scope for political interference in the election is how quickly Philadelphia and the southeast suburban counties—expected to go big for Joe Biden—will be able to count their mail-in ballots. Continue reading

PA House GOP Forming Exciting New Select Committee to Steal the Election

(House Republican State Government Committee Chair, Garth Everett | Photo: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) The Trump campaign and Pennsylvania Republicans haven't been shy about their openness to the idea of trying to win ugly in Pennsylvania through the state legislature's ability to appoint electors, possibly circumventing the popular vote in the state.Last week we flagged some quotes from PA Republican leaders in The Atlantic flirting with a strategy of challenging the validity of mail ballots, first in the court of public opinion, and then through the courts where Republicans hold power, and in the end appointing electors to hand Pennsylvania's electoral votes to President Trump. Continue reading

'Home Rule' Episode 4: How is the PA General Election *Actually* Going to Work?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled on the big questions of the election, and the endgame for November is finally becoming a little clearer. On the latest episode of Home Rule, we talked with Rep. Kevin Boyle, Democratic Chair of the House State Government Committee, and Suzanne Almeida, interim director of Common Cause PA, about what happened and what it means for your voting experience this November.Listen today on your streaming service of choice, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and Spotify, and share it with friends and neighbors to help get the word out about this important issue.  

You Can Vote Starting Next Tuesday at One of Philly's Satellite Election Offices

The Pennsylvania election updates are coming fast these days, and to help you cut through the noise, each week we’re spending some time summarizing all the high-level takeaways that everybody needs to know about. Read on for this week’s news, and send us an email at [email protected] if there are questions you still have and want to see answered in an upcoming newsletter. Continue reading

The Price of a Judge (Excerpt from 'Philadelphia Battlefields')

(Hon. Darnell Jones II) We are pleased to share this excerpt from John Kromer's excellent new book "Philadelphia Battlefields: Disruptive Campaigns and Upset Elections in a Changing City" (Temple University Press, 2020) about upset local elections in Philadelphia's history. Kromer is a professor at Penn's Fels Institute, the former director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and a one-time Sheriff candidate. His book covers the history of insurgent campaigns from the 1950's through the present-day, including Controller Rebecca Rhynhart's 2017 primary, and Jamie Gauthier's 3rd District Council win. Continue reading

Dropboxes Live! PA Supreme Court Protects Voting Access Expansion in Act 77

(Dropboxes live! Photo: City Commissioners) Pennsylvania has a good chance of being the tipping point state in the November election, according to an analysis from FiveThirtyEight, which gives President Donald Trump an 84 percent chance of winning reelection if he carries the state, and Democratic nominee Joe Biden a 96 percent chance of winning the presidency if he takes Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Why Philly's Housing Affordability Problem is Really an Income Problem

(Chart: Pew) Philadelphia’s housing affordability challenges are substantially different from those in places like New York City and the Bay Area, according to some clarifying new research from Pew showing Philadelphia’s issues stem much more from the high poverty rate and percentage of people with very low incomes, as opposed to runaway housing price inflation. Continue reading

State Lawmakers to Take Up Election Law Changes Next Week as Window for Action Closes

(Image: Timothy Rezendes via Creative Commons) Next Tuesday, the State Government Committee of the Pennsylvania Senate will once again take up the election bill that Republicans tried to rush through unexpectedly last week. The last-minute committee meeting violated notice requirements, so the passage of the Republican election bill was voided and they had to reschedule the vote.  Continue reading

The Downsides of Postponing Assessments for Yet Another Year

(Another missed opportunity to address known inequities | Image: Office of the Controller) The Kenney administration announced this week that they will be postponing real estate reassessments for an additional year, after also postponing last year’s reassessments, citing the impending CAMA system rollout and COVID-related complications as compelling reasons to delay marking assessed values to market. Continue reading