Category Archives: Voting & districts

Sign and send the petition to your legislators: Do not impeach state Supreme Court justices

Petition from Daily Kos, 3/21/18

In a stunning display of contempt for democracy and the rule of law, Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Cris Dush has introduced a resolution to impeach the state Supreme Court justices who struck down the GOP’s congressional gerrymander and replaced it with a much fairer map for the 2018 elections.

This maneuver came just a day after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the GOP’s bid to block the state court’s ruling, demonstrating that even the conservative-majority federal bench thinks Pennsylvania Republicans have no legal leg to stand on.

The bad news? Republicans hold enough seats needed to impeach judges thanks to their gerrymanders of the legislature, which gave them a solid hold on the state House and the minimum two-thirds of necessary seats in the state Senate.

The good news? All we need is one Republican in the state Senate to block this charade. That’s why Pennsylvanians must contact their legislators, and pressure them against the undemocratic travesty.

Sign and send the petition to your Pennsylvania legislators: Do not impeach justices.

Supreme Court upholds new Pa. congressional district map, rejecting Republican challenge

by Jonathan Lai & Liz Navratil, Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/19/18 [Good! All Chester County is definitively within one district, PA-06, in line with the anti-gerrymandering principle.]

HARRISBURG — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to the new congressional map imposed by the state high court, assuring that the redrawn lines would be used in the 2018 elections.

The action came hours after a federal-judge panel dismissed a similar suit, saying Republican lawmakers who brought it had not legal standing. With the back-to-back rejections — both coming on the eve of the petition-filing deadline for congressional candidates — no legal challenges to the map remained.

The new map lines could have an impact on the makeup of the 2019 Congress, with Democrats hopeful that they could pick up at least a few more seats in Pennsylvania….

keep reading at Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania Takes Critical Steps Toward Election Security by Purchasing Voter-Verifiable Paper System

Verified Voting Blog, Feb 12 2018 [Chesco attorney Marian Schneider has a long record of securing voters’ rights; see here and search her name on this site for many other accomplishments such as helping prevent intrusive voter ID requirements in the state and securing verifiable paper ballots in Chester County.]

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, formerly Deputy Secretary for Elections and Administration in the Pennsylvania Department of State, on Pennsylvania’s announcement that it will no longer purchase paperless DREs and that going forward all new voting machines must have a voter-verifiable paper ballot or paper record. For additional media inquires, please contact aurora@newheightscommunications.com

“Pennsylvania is taking a critical step towards safeguarding elections by replacing its aging voting systems and restoring voters’ faith that their votes will be counted as cast. The only way to address the risk of software problems is to require a physical paper ballot that can be used to check the computer-generated votes.

“Since 2006, 83 percent of Pennsylvanians have voted on unverifiable direct recording electronic (DRE) systems. This directive begins to change that. As the Commonwealth moves forward with these steps to increase security, it also serves as an example for other states to do the same. But it shouldn’t stop there. Pennsylvania needs to continue this momentum by decertifying all its remaining DREs and only certify voting systems that include a paper record of voter’s choices.

“We applaud Governor Wolf’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of Pennsylvania’s elections. The administration’s move to safeguard Pennsylvania elections by requiring counties to purchase these new voting systems will allow jurisdictions to detect any problems with the election outcome and recover from them. This is exactly why security experts recommend that voting machines are resilient. Pennsylvania’s actions reflect the understanding that our election infrastructure must be secure.”

School Shootings – An American Tragedy

by Tom Buglio

In light of the recent horrific Parkland, Florida school shooting, once again Americans are faced with the stark reality of gun violence happening in a place that should be among the safest for our children: their schools. The shooting by a disturbed young man with an AR-15 is just the latest mass atrocity involving guns in school, as there have been 18 shootings this young year, and over 200 since Sandy Hook in 2012!

Nowhere else in the developed world is there this kind of carnage. What is to be done? Do we have to accept the need for making our schools into secured fortresses with metal detectors, and armed guards? Do we need to put more $ into identifying emotionally challenged children? Do we arm teachers and administrators, as we surely will hear calls for from the gun rights side. Should we ban the semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 which caused so much bloodshed in such a short amount of time in Newtown, Aurora, Parkland and Las Vegas?

All of these ideas and more need consideration, but more than that, they need ACTION! How can any responsible school teacher or administrator not think about the next school shooting, which is surely coming.

Many school districts have spent a vast amount of time and $ fortifying their schools, as communicated by Dr. Scanlon, Superintendent of West Chester Area Schools in a recent news article. It is truly impressive, and disturbing what schools have to do to create a sense of security today. Parkland School practiced many of the same safety measures, including a drill on the same day of the shooting, to no avail.

I submit that, while we need to do everything we can with our schools to protect children, the crux of the problem is that we live in a society where it is too easy to get a gun. And the reality is that with the current makeup of Congress, nothing at a national level will change. For those politicians who feel it is more important to protect gun rights and the 2nd amendment than it is their children and grandchildren, or to protect their current status collecting money from the NRA, shame on them!

Real change will happen when we give these politicians the boot, and vote into power courageous legislators unafraid of the NRA, willing to plug the many gaps in our system that enabled a troubled young man to fantasize about becoming a famous school shooter, acquiring an arsenal of deadly weapons, and then making his fantasy into a terrible reality.

The aftermath of Parkland is depressingly familiar, as we see the agony and grief of families trying to make sense of the senseless. But it feels different: there is a wave of anger in the survivors and families of the victims that is palpable, demanding their government do something NOW!

If we want to truly make progressive change in terms of reducing gun violence, we all need to get angry and hold onto this anger through the next election. Make sure you vote, and that the person who gets your vote will protect our children, and not the gun industry. For only when we have elected officials truly committed to gun safety will we see real change.