Support Grows for Vote-By-Mail Election in PA

As more indications suggest the coronavirus lockdown could last for months, not weeks, momentum has been building to move Pennsylvania's primary to a later date in May or June, and scale up our new vote-by-mail program to reach all eligible voters. Continue reading

Delaying PA's Primary and Universal Vote-By-Mail: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

Pennsylvania's primary elections are coming up fast on Tuesday, April 28th, and nobody can say with any certainty that the need for physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic will abate by then.  Continue reading

Kenney Admin Preparing Economic Response to COVID-19

After the Kenney administration ordered bars and restaurants closed yesterday, and with more state restrictions on in-person business activity coming as the COV-19 pandemic spreads, we're starting to get a glimpse of what the city and state economic response will look like. Economist Adam Ozimek notes that, according to the JP Morgan Institute, about half of small businesses have less than 15 days of cash buffer before they're in the red, so the clock is ticking for especially federal politicians to make get cash out the door and into the hands of small businesses and workers fast. Cities and states may be able to act more nimbly, however, and any federal response would work partly through them.  Continue reading

'Home Rule' Episode 2: Popularity Contest - Does America Need a National Popular Vote?

In 2016, President Donald Trump was able to win the Electoral College by flipping a few Rust Belt swing states that had been trending Democratic—specifically Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin—despite receiving 2.9 million fewer actual votes than Hillary Clinton. And current polling in those swing states suggests there are decent odds that could happen again. Continue reading

Rep. Kevin Boyle Wants to Mail Every PA Voter a Mail-In Ballot Because of Coronavirus

With health officials urging social isolation measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, and uncertainty looming over upcoming large-scale public events, Philadelphia Rep. Kevin Boyle is announcing a new bill that would lean into Pennsylvania’s new vote-by-mail system and mail every voter a ballot. Continue reading

The Race is on to Shape PA's Post-Census Redistricting

Most people who follow politics know about gerrymandering in the sense of districts being skewed to favor one political party or another, but there are also other methods that state politicians can use to weaken the political power of people in dense metros in state politics. Continue reading

Council Report: Week of March 9th

Readers rejoice! We're bringing back our weekly Council Report, with plain-English summaries of the big-ticket City Council bills that were introduced in the last week.  Continue reading

A Rough Start for Philly's New Sheriff

(Photo: Emily Neil/AL DÍA News) Newly-elected Sheriff Rochelle Bilal campaigned on a fresh start for the trouble Sheriff's office, which faced some weighty corruption issues under the two prior leaders, and won her election decisively. John Green, who held the office prior to Jewell Williams, was recently sentenced to 5 years in prison last August after pleading guilty to a bribery scandal, and last May it was reported that there has also been a federal investigation into an official in the most recent Sheriff Jewell Williams's office as well, centered on an unnamed official in the real estate department accused of accepting bribes for giving buyers advance notice of Sheriff sales. Continue reading

$1 Land Sales and City Council's Role in the Blight Problem

In a follow-up piece to their earlier report on people flipping land they bought for $1 from the City, Claudia Vargas, Chris Williams, and Dylan Purchell found 500 examples of blighted or tax-delinquent lots owned by people who benefitted from $1 land deals, which were allowed to rack up garbage and tax debt totalling almost $900,000. Continue reading

Citywide Street Sweeping Is Actually Going to Happen

Mayor Kenney included a proposed over $10 million for street sweeping in his budget proposal to City Council for fiscal year 2021 this week, with $67 million pledged over the next 5 years. While it's too soon to unfurl the 'Mission Accomplished' banner just yet, it's worth taking a minute to celebrate this milestone and take stock of just how far the politics of this issue have moved in the past couple years. Continue reading