• Victoria Miller

Big Changes in Democracy Reform!

Happy Thursday, Activists!


We have THREE hopeful news items to report today! Wow – how long has it been since we could say that? But it seems that your calls, emails, and letters to our representatives and senators is paying off.


1. First up, a couple of days ago Rolling Stone reported that President Biden is ready to get behind filibuster reform! Remember when we rallied outside the Constitution Center when he gave a speech in July? Our rally received great media coverage and it was just part of our many efforts to pressure him to get in the game. Now it seems to have happened.


Rolling Stone reports in this article that Biden told Senator Schumer to let him know when he should start making calls to persuade senators to change the filibuster rules. We’ve believed for a while that it will take the President’s bully pulpit to accomplish filibuster reform, so let’s hope this is the start of something big.


2. Next up: New Name for S.1 – The Freedom To Vote Act

You may have heard that on Tuesday Senate Democrats announced a significant revision to the For the People Act – naming it the Freedom to Vote Act. It is a good bill that would prohibit the shenanigans happening in several states to overturn legitimate election results, and so much more, improving on Sen. Manchin's proposal. You can read a very complete but succinct summary of this proposal by Marc Elias, the premier election lawyer, at this link. It is well worth the read. Senator Schumer says that it will go up for another vote next week.


Here is Indivisible’s take on the new proposal:

Good

  • Automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration

  • Establishes Election Day as a national holiday

  • Early voting and vote-by-mail provisions

  • Grants voting rights to returning citizens (former prisoners)

  • New election subversion provisions to protect election officials from being fired/replaced/intimidated among others

  • The DISCLOSE Act - prevents dark money contributions

Medium

  • Establishes federal standards for voter ID in states that already require voter ID (states that do not require ID will not have to under this law) -- in other words, if your state does not require ID, you will see no change; if your state does require ID, in theory this law will make life easier for you by providing alternatives to presenting a physical ID card to vote

  • Independent redistricting commissions are out, instead will be replaced by new requirements and minimum standards for drawing fair maps

Not great

  • Public financing has been weakened to be optional for House races only

3. And finally, over the weekend the Ways and Means Committee released its draft of the taxing structure to pay for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. You can read what’s in it here and here and here. In short, it raises taxes on large corporations, high-income individuals, and gives more money for IRS enforcement, which will recover a lot of money that the wealthy are already required to pay but don’t. And there’s a lot more, totaling close to $2.7 trillion.


The bottom line on all these proposals is that our pressure is working. Remember – politicians don’t like to do hard things. But if they are pressured, they will do them. That’s where we come in! We need to keep up the pressure because while these proposals look good, they are all still being negotiated.


Here are your Calls To Action:

Call your Representative – Evans or Boyle – and tell them you want to see them do whatever it takes to unrig our economy and improve our tax system – and, for example, prevent billionaires and giant corporations from avoiding taxes or simply breaking tax laws altogether.

Rep. Evans – D.C. office 202-225-4001; Phila office 215-276-0340; email link

Rep. Boyle – D.C. office 202-225-6111; Phila office 215-335-3355; email link


Plus– here’s a fun and easy way to contact your representative, scripts included. Indivisible has created this handy toolkit to email, call, and tweet at them about their work on taxes and Medicare improvements. Just click on the links and the templates and their scripts will make it all easy.


Call our Senators and tell them to PASS the reconciliation package. Tell them we need transformative policy like universal childcare, Medicare expansion, and stopping climate change.

Sen. Toomey – Phila office 215-241-1090; D.C. 202-224-4254; email link

Sen. Casey – Phila office 215-405-9660; D.C. 202-224-6324 email link

For outside PA: Find your Senators’ phone numbers and emails at this link.


OUR NEXT THREE MEETINGS

1. Redistricting and Gerrymandering

Join us for a meeting with Fair District’s Carol Kuniholm. She’ll give us the scoop on Pennsylvania’s redistricting process, where it stands now, and what we can do to advocate to prevent regular gerrymandering. This will affect our voting for the next 10 years!

When: Next Wednesday, September 22, 4:00 pm

Where: Zoom

Sign up here.


2. Deb Ciamacca – Candidate for PA House from Delaware County

You know how important it is to flip PA legislative seats to bring progressive change to our state. Deb Ciamacca is a fantastic candidate who is working hard to do just that. A former Marine and former teacher, she is already canvassing for next year’s election. She will bring her stories from her “listening tour” to this meeting. You’ll learn what it’s like to talk to MAGA voters and learn what’s on their minds, plus her strategy for getting out the vote. Deb has some amazing stories and you’ll be inspired by her story and her energy to make positive change.

When: Tuesday, October 19, 6:30 pm

Where: Zoom

Sign up here.


3. SAVE THE DATE: Women’s Reproductive Health – Where Do We Go From Here?

This will be an amazing and timely meeting. Our speakers will be Kathryn Kolbert and Julie Kay, authors of the new book: Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom. In 1992, Kolbert argued before the United States Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the seminal case that challenged five abortion regulations in Pennsylvania. The ruling modified but upheld the rights established in Roe v. Wade.

Our speakers will talk to us about what this landscape looks like after the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Texas anti-abortion law and the cases scheduled to come before it next year. And they’ll offer what we should be ready to do in light of those realities. We are partnering with Turn PA Blue on this event.

When: Thursday, November 11, 7:30 pm

Where: Zoom

The sign-up link will be coming. Mark your calendar now!


Other local upcoming events:

1. The Women’s March group is holding marches to defend abortion rights in October 2. Two are planned in Philadelphia and below are are the links to sign up:

https://act.womensmarch.com/event/oct-2-2021-march/1747/

https://act.womensmarch.com/event/oct-2-2021-march/1443


2. Senate Candidate Series

Meet the candidates currently running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Pat Toomey. This is a series of four monthly zoom meetings, and each one will feature one candidate who will also answer your questions. The first will be with Connor Lamb on September 26.

Register Here and as part of the registration you can ask questions you’d like answered at the meeting.


ALL OUR OTHER STUFF


SENATOR REPORT CARDS

Here’s how the Report Cards work:

1. Click this link to open the document.

2. SAVE the document to your computer.

3. Fill out the two report cards – one for each senator.

4. SAVE again to save your message.

5. Email the document back to us at this link. We'll deliver them to the offices.


VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES

Registering voters is critically important to turning out the vote so let’s get it done! For the farmers markets below we are doing in partnership with the Food Trust, which operates farmers markets around the city. The exception is the Germantown Farmers Market, which is now operated by Philly Forest. Sign up for a two-hour shift.


Clark Park Farmers Market

Saturday, September 18, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

SIGN UP HERE


Germantown Farmers Market – All spots are filled!

Saturday, September 25, Noon to 4:00 pm


More coming soon!


35 DOORS PROJECT

We’re really getting rolling with this project! Our Neighborhood Leaders are out already talking to their neighbors about voting and elections. Join this project to be a Neighborhood Leader engaging with voters at 35 addresses in your neighborhood. You’ll go to doors a few times per year and use the information we provide about upcoming elections. You’ll be ready to be the local election expert after our training session and the information and handouts we’ll provide. We’ll also provide the addresses in coordination with you, plus door hangers, election information – everything you’ll need!

If you want more info or to sign up email us at this link!


POSTCARDS!

We are writing postcards to persuade infrequent voters to get out and vote next year to secure Democratic victories for the open U.S. Senate seat and the open PA Governor’s seat. We are writing to every single voter in Philadelphia who does not usually vote in midterm elections.


Here’s how it works –

The hand-written script is only two sentences plus you’ll also write the address. We recommend you order enough cards to write over the next two months.

Your packet will include the postcards and the list of addresses. We’ll email you all the instructions and the script. Please order your postcards in multiples of 50.

We ask that you donate $7.00 per set of 50 postcards to cover our costs. But don’t let the donation stop you from ordering the postcard packets. On the other hand, if you can, please consider chipping in a little extra to cover the cost for those who cannot.


Here’s how to sign up –

1. Email us at this link to tell us how many postcards you want.

2. Purchase your 36-cent postcard stamps online at this link or at your local post office.

3. Donate $7.00 per set of 50 postcards at this link. (Plus an extra $5.00 if we are shipping to you.)


Here’s how to receive your postcards –

* If you are in the Philadelphia area, we will deliver the postcard packets to you or you can pick them up.

* If you are outside the Philadelphia area, we can ship the packet to you. Please add $5.00 to your donation for shipping costs.

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