• Victoria Miller

Starting the Conversation Now

Happy Tuesday, Activists!


We have some exciting news today (postcards!), some good information about our city government, details on our next meeting, and of course our election guide.


First the city part. If you care about good government and how the city should be run, you should keep an eye on Rebecca Rhynhart, our City Controller. Watch the video (at this link) from last week’s meeting and learn how she's documented that the city is flat-out failing to keep track of our tax dollars in the most basic ways and how she is bringing this to light. You’ll also hear about her investigation and report on how the city failed us during last summer’s protests. The video is at this link and we at Indivisible Philadelphia HQ highly recommend it.


On the federal front:

The For the People Act (S.1) is being marked up today by the Senate Rules Committee. There will be a lot of theatrics involved, especially from GOP senators – but no bad amendments are expected to be adopted given that the committee is tied. We expect there to be some public hand-wringing in the press and elsewhere about parts of the bill and on the process / amendments / urgency, but this is normal and part of the process, so you should not worry too much about it.


BUT, call our Senators and tell them to pass S.1 with urgency. Thank Senator Casey for supporting the bill, and tell Senator Toomey you expect him to vote for it.

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 MEETING

We just set up our next meeting, and we’re excited that it will be an evening in conversation with Congressman Brendan Boyle on Wednesday, June 2, at 6:30 pm. Congressman Boyle represents Philadelphians in PA's 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. You know there’s a huge lineup of bills going through Congress, so join us to learn about pending legislation and future bills that will be coming to the floor. We’ll ask him about the strategy to get these bills passed and the chances for success on them, plus more! Sign up here.


OUR NEW POSTCARD PROJECT – YAY!

Here’s the deal – the 2022 midterms are right around the corner. As we have discussed before, and described in some detail at one of our recent meetings, Philadelphia voter turnout was not impressive in 2020. Philly’s voter turnout was at about 66% and the state average was 71%. So to have success in the 2022 midterms we must boost Philadelphia turnout to win the open U.S. Senate seat and our governor’s seat. We can do it but we need to start now.


We have a three-pronged plan – (1) the Neighborhood Canvassing Project; (2) the 35 Doors Project; and (3) our new Postcard Project we announce today. Plus, of course, we are still doing all of our “regular” events like voter registration (two dates below). So you have options!


As with our canvassing, for now we are focusing on voters who voted in the presidential elections of 2016 and 2020 but not in the 2018 midterms. For all three projects, we are using the American Rescue Plan to demonstrate that voting matters and elections have consequences. Our messaging informs voters of the benefits of the ARP and reminds them that Democrats enacted it and all Republicans voted against it. Our aim is to convince them to vote next year and we are starting the conversations now.


Here’s how it works –

We will distribute the postcards to you or you can pick them up at a Center City location, which we will tell you when you sign up.

A couple of changes this time -- we are not using info labels because some of the information is pre-printed on the card. The hand-written script is only two sentences and you’ll also write the address.

We recommend you order enough cards to write over the next two months. Once new legislation is passed, we’ll change the cards to reflect the new benefits.


The packet you receive will include the postcards and the list of addresses. We’ll email you all the instructions and the script. We are preparing packets in 50-card sets, so you can order them in multiples of 50.


We ask that you donate $7.00 per set of 50 postcards to cover our costs. We understand that in these times some of you may not be able to incur this cost in addition to buying the postcard stamps, BUT we want you to participate anyway. So please 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.


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 haven’t written postcards with us before, please give us your address.

  • If you want to pick up your postcard packets, we’ll have locations for you to do that.

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

OUR OTHER TWO PROJECTS

We announced these projects in more detail in a previous newsletter.


1. Neighborhood Canvassing Project. We are using some of the same theories used by Stacey Abrams and other Georgia groups to expand the electorate and sign up voters. We will canvass in Philadelphia neighborhoods, focusing on infrequent voters and non-voters by using proven persuasion techniques.


Our first training is scheduled for Thursday, May 20 (Zoom registration link) and our first canvass is set for Saturday, May 22, at 11 a.m. in the Queen Village area.

Sign up here.

If you want more information, email us here or just sign up for the training and first canvass!


2. 35 Doors Project. Our first informational meeting for this project is this Thursday, May 13, at 1 pm. In this project, you’ll be a Neighborhood Leader interacting with voters at 35 addresses in your neighborhood. It involves going to doors a few times per year and using the information we’ll provide about upcoming elections. You’ll be ready to be the local election expert after our training session and with the information and handouts we’ll provide. We’ll also provide the addresses.

So if you’ve signed up already or you just want to learn more about the project, come and find out all about it. Here’s the Zoom link to join this Thursday’s informational meeting at 1 pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83648752708

Meeting ID: 836 4875 2708


New Projects Training – An expert Indivisible trainer will lead this session.

When: Thursday, May 20, at 4 pm

Sign up at this Indivisible Zoom registration link

If you can’t make this one, don’t worry. We’ll record it and there will be more live sessions too.


VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES

We have two dates set to register voters in Rittenhouse Square. We’ll register voters safely and follow all COVID protocols. Meet up in front of the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square.

Three shifts on each day –10 – noon; noon – 2; 2 – 4 pm

When: Saturday, June 5

Sign up here

When: Saturday, June 12

Sign up here


MAY 18 ELECTION INFO

Voting By Mail

If you are the ultimate procrastinator, you can sign up for a mail-in ballot on the state website here. The deadline TODAY at 5 pm!


Here’s what you need to know to return it safely:

  • Drop boxes are in place now, open 24/7 until 8:00 pm on May 18. Find the list of locations at this link.

  • Mail-in ballots must be turned in only by the voter, unless the voter is disabled and can certify another person to deliver it. Certification forms are at this link (at the bottom).

  • Follow the directions on the card included in the ballot envelope. (1) Fill out the ballot with blue or black pen; (2) vote for the right number of candidates as indicated; (3) put your completed ballot in the blue secrecy envelop; (4) put that envelope in the mailing envelope; and (5) be sure to sign on the back of it where indicated.

  • Either mail it or put it in a drop box. It must be delivered by May 18, at 8 pm (not postmarked by then).

Track your ballot at this link.


Voting In Person

Find the city’s current list of Philadelphia polling places at this link or find yours at this link (the link works now!). Polling places are open from 7 am to 8 pm.


Deadlines

  • TODAY, at 5 pm: Last day to request an absentee or mail-in ballot

  • Tuesday, May 18: Election Day

  • Tuesday, May 18, at 8 pm: Completed mail-in ballots must be received by your county election office. Postmarked is not enough. So do it today!

Remind your family and friends how important it is to vote in this election! This is a lower-turnout election, so your vote is more important than ever.


Ballot Questions

You can see the more expanded rundown in our recent newsletter and below is our quick review. There are four state-based questions on the ballot plus one Philadelphia question.

1. Constitutional Amendment to Article IV. Transfers certain of the Governor’s existing authority to manage disaster emergencies away from the Governor and to the General Assembly. We recommend voting NO to this Amendment.

2. Constitutional Amendment to Article III, Section 9. Allows the legislature to terminate or extend the Governor’s disaster emergency declaration without the Governor’s approval. We recommend voting NO on this amendment.

3. Constitutional Amendment to Article I. Creates a PA constitutional prohibition against restricting or denying an individual’s equal rights under Pennsylvania law because of race or ethnicity. We recommend voting YES on this amendment.

4. Statewide Referendum. Allows Municipal fire and emergency services companies to be eligible to take out loans from an already existing state loan program. We recommend voting YES on this referendum.

5. Philadelphia Home Charter Rule Change. Expands the Board of License Inspection Review from six to nine members who can hear and decide cases in three-member panels. See more here.


For More

Progressive Voters Guide advisory for Constitutional Amendments at this link.

State website with the descriptions of the ballot questions at this link.

Committee of Seventy’s voter guide at this link.


Judges

  • PA Supreme Court – summary of who they are and their positions is here.

  • Committee of Seventy’s round-up of the races for judge and the statewide ballot questions is at this link. Philadelphia-specific races are at this link.

  • The Philadelphia Bar Association’s recommendations are at this link.

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