Make Abe Proud!
Happy Cinco de Mayo, Activists!! (pssst – here’s the real story)
“Democracy is not what we have. Democracy is what we do.”
Maybe that’s the frame for thinking about our job as citizens from now on. Like many of you, I did a little bit of political work in years past – canvassing a bit for Obama and Clinton, a bit of phone banking. But nothing like we’re doing today! Imagine if we had….
But the past is the past and now’s our time to make a difference!
We’ll get to making Abe and Harry happy in a minute. But first . . .
VOTING BY MAIL – RECEIVE YOUR BALLOT YET?
Hopefully you’ve all signed up to vote by mail. If you haven’t, you need to get onboard for a few reasons. First, sign up here if you haven’t already.
Now, the reasons to do it.
1. Safety. None of us want to worry about safe polling locations during the time of this pandemic. So that’s probably the most important reason.
2. Polling locations will be reduced, combined and changed. Pennsylvania counties are all dramatically reducing the number of their polling places. This is because poll workers tend to be on the older side and are therefore more vulnerable to coronavirus. Plus, polling places are so crowded at times that physical distance may be impossible. And some polling locations in apartment buildings, senior centers, or other community living situations are closed to outside visitors and therefore the entry of voters is not going to happen.
3. Increased voting. We know that voting by mail increases voting. So don’t wait. You can sit in the comfort of your home, take your time to vote thoughtfully, research the ballot questions, and then put your ballot in the mail.
Some of you have received your ballots. If you haven’t don’t worry, it’s on the way if you’ve signed up for it. This is a new system so here are the tips for making sure your vote counts.
1. Read the ballot marking instructions so you vote for the right number of people in any given race. If you vote for too many your vote for that office won’t count.
2. Use blue or black ink.
3. When you’re finished voting, refold the ballot, place in the enclosed “Official Mail-In Ballot” envelope (the “secrecy envelope”) and seal it.
4. Then put this sealed envelope inside the “Voter’s Declaration" envelope (the larger, outer envelope) which is already addressed to the county board of elections. For Philadelphia, this envelope also is already stamped.
5. Fill out the “Voter’s Declaration” on the return envelope. If you don’t, it won’t be counted. 6. Mail the envelope, or hand deliver it to the Board of Elections. Either way, it must be received by 8:00 pm on June 2nd. So get voting and mailing!
7. Make a mistake? Call the BoE at 215-686-3469 and ask for a replacement.
8. Tell your friends and neighbors how great this is and encourage them to Vote By Mail.
Finally, our great Katie has created a cool poster you can hang in your window to tell your neighbors they should vote by mail too. Here is the link to it so you can print it out and hang it proudly. Take a photo and send it to us so we can show everyone on our social media!
CALL TO ACTION
You can see our previous Calls To Action, which are still a good thing for you to do, on our website here.
Sen. Casey – Phila office 215-405-9660; D.C. office 202-224-6324; email link Sen. Toomey – Phila office 215-241-1090; D.C. office 202-224-4254; email link 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
SUPPORT THE POSTAL SERVICE
Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman were postmasters!
You can read the details here. And in 1775, Philadelphia’s own Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General.
The U.S. Postal Service is one of the most popular institutions in our country, and is the lifeblood of so many communities. It has over 600,000 employees who bring crucial correspondence, life-saving medicine, and vote-by-mail ballots to millions of Americans regardless of their geography or their income.
Under Republican rule, it will be bankrupt by September, which could imperil our November elections. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen. Congress included a $10 billion loan for the agency in the Cares Act Relief package, but the Postal Service has not received the money yet. Why? Because Trump has threatened to block the loan until USPS dramatically increases its shipping costs for online retailers such as Amazon.
Call your MOCs and tell them to stop this insanity. Tell them they must fully fund the Postal Service in the next pandemic relief package. Tell our House members to co-sponsor the Protect Our Post Offices Act (H.R. 6425) to ensure vital goods and services to Americans by providing $25 billion in emergency funding for USPS. Tell our Senators to support full funding for USPS.
Tell Senator Toomey to get the $10 billion already appropriated released to the USPS now.
1. You can also download a printed application here if you haven’t already and mail it in. You can call to have an application mailed to you at 877-VOTESPA. The applications are accepted through May 26 but don’t wait! You can see the important recent changes to the vote-by-mail system in a recent newsletter at our website here. Once you sign up to vote by mail you can track your ballot status here.
2. Register To Vote (if you need to) – The voter registration deadline is extended to May 18. Register online here.
3. Fill out your Census! We are now seeing how important our healthcare system is. There’s an easy way to support healthcare down the road – fill out your Census! The Census determines the amount of funding that goes to our hospitals! Get counted and you’re making a contribution to our community!
PA CANDIDATE FORUM
Turn PA Blue's candidate forum series will introduce you to many inspiring PA state candidates, some you may have met at our last in-person meeting, and some we’ve already written postcards for.
Tonight’s forum is at 7:00 pm and features Paul Friel for State Rep., House District 26 (Chester County and Montgomery County)!. RSVP here!
Paul has over 25 years of experience in management and executive leadership roles. He owns a local business, PACE Environmental, and is a member of the Owen J Roberts School Board.
Help Voters Sign Up For Vote By Mail
We’ve made a staggering number of calls already. This is how we get Dems elected – remember Wisconsin?
Join this Saturday’s Back 2 Blue Phone Bank. The new phone bank system eliminates calls with no answer or an answering machine, so all the calls go to a person who answers the phone – no wasted time. Choose an hour or two to make calls between 11 AM-8 PM. You can sign up here for this Saturday's shift.
Training is optional and you can sign up for it HERE.
Choose from the full line-up of Back to Blue virtual phone banks HERE. Check out Turn PA Blue Phone Banking Tips HERE.
Remind Philly To Complete The Census!
Sign up to make a few calls to our fellow residents to ask them to fill out their Census form. Sign up here to make some calls. It’s really easy and the system removes the rings with no one home or an answering machine. Here are instructions on how to set up your account for the phone bank.
“I really enjoyed meeting new people, and getting work done at the same time. You guys from Philadelphia are really inspiring with your efforts.” ~ Fran, one of our members, after her first Virtual Cards & Coffee party last week.
You should join in the fun! It's an anxiety relief to write postcards to voters. And for some of us even more fun to write cards together on Zoom. Either way, it's all critical work. Details are below.
We’ve been writing to voters in critical states to remind them to double-check their voter registration status. We’re also writing to more Florida voters to tell them to sign up to vote by mail. We’ll be adding more options as we go along.
Here’s how it works:
– Step One: Order postcards from the Postal Service at this link. They are 39 cents each, including the stamp, and are the cheapest way to buy cards and stamps.
– Step Two: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you want to write cards and we’ll get you all the information you need.
– Step Three: We will send you addresses, a script, and instructions for you to write the cards. We’ll replenish your supply of addresses as needed.
Virtual Postcard Events
We’ll be doing these events every week so order your postcards now. They’re taking about 10-14 days to arrive. The Zoom meeting link will be at the bottom of your confirmation email. For easy access, all of our events are at this link.
Virtual Cards & Coffee
When: TOMORROW, May 6, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (stay for as long as you want)
When: Wednesday, May 13, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (stay for as long as you want)
Virtual Cards & Cocktails
When: This Thursday, May 7, 6-8 pm (stay for as long as you want)
When: Thursday, May 14, 6-8 pm (stay for as long as you want)
DONATE (if you can) – #GivingTuesdayNow
Today is #GivingTuesdayNow -- a global day of giving and unity, organized by communities and nonprofits around the world in response to the unprecedented need caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Please consider giving even a small amount to a nonprofit you care about. We have some suggestions.
1. Indivisible Philadelphia! – We're in the midst of the Indivisible matching grant. First, a big THANK YOU to all those who have donated so far! We receive double any donations made through the end of May, up to a total of $500 in donations. So now your donations will go twice as far to help Indivisible Philadelphia fulfill its mission. Please donate here.
2. Philabundance – This valuable organization is considered an essential agency by the City of Philadelphia, and will remain open throughout the emergency - operating as usual or increasing service as needed. For every dollar you give, Philabundance will be able to provide two meals to our neighbors.
3. No Kid Hungry – The coronavirus has closed schools nationwide, and millions of children in need have lost the school meals they depend on. For many, it’s the only healthy food they get on a given day. No Kid Hungry has a plan to feed these kids now and in the months ahead. Double your impact today.
MORE IDEAS FOR SPENDING QUALITY INDOOR TIME
Here we go with more fun stuff! If you missed our ideas from last week, find them on the Newsletter page on our website here.
1. Safari! Take a virtual guided safari ride in South Africa or Kenya – https://wildearth.tv/safarilive/
Hosted by a game ranger, this livestream safari lets you discover the iconic wildlife of the African savanna from the safety of home.
2. Take An Art Tour – Barnes Takeout – In short videos, Barnes curators, scholars, and educators present off-the-cuff musings about some of their favorite works in the collection. Take a break during these trying times, and refocus your mind on something calm and nourishing.
3. Virtual tour of Kew Gardens - Visit these beautiful London gardens virtually and when you can, you can visit in person!
4. Daily cheers for essential workers - to some tunes. Apparently the daily cheer hasn’t taken off in Philly as it has in some other cities like New York. So one group has started “Doorway Dance” parties every night at 6:30 pm. A few local radio stations are playing the tunes each night at 6:30 just for this. They’ve got the “Rocky” theme and “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” and others. Check it out!
Be safe. Stay inside. See you soon.