WE STAND WITH UKRAINE
This month’s newsletter is being prepared at a moment of not knowing. We don’t know what the situation will be in Ukraine by the time you read this. What we do know as we prepare it is that bombs are falling, missiles are striking homes, apartments, schools and hospitals. Ukrainian citizens are dying and being driven from their homeland by a tyrant.
President Joe Biden has been leading a measured response of NATO allies, and others, to the war crimes of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Of course, some Republicans are using this horror to score political points for the 2022 elections, and the 2024 presidential elections.
Now is not the time to only think about elections in the context of an international crisis. Now is the time for all of us to examine how we can best help Ukraine and its citizens – those who have remained in the country and those who have been forced to flee with just the clothes on their backs. See a comprehensive list of reputable charities compiled by the Philadelphia Inquirer here.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
It is the middle of March and we finally have all the District lines approved for federal and state districts. Petition signing for our State House and Senate races and State Committee races begins on March 18th. I ask everyone to approach this petition signing period with the same energy and enthusiasm you had in the first signing period. Committee people, please go back to those who signed your petitions and ask again for their signatures. Zones, if possible, have some signing parties.
The new lines are the best we hoped for. We have an opportunity to pick up a State House seat in the 26th District, but we also have some incumbents who are facing challenges, especially Representative Williams in the 74th District. It will take a unified CCDC to make sure all our incumbents win. This means volunteering to knock doors and phone bank outside of our own districts. I welcome any campaigning ideas and any suggestions for ways in which CCDC can help our candidates.
Our political consultant Charles Boruchowitz has accepted a position with a company which prevents him from doing any paid political consulting work. It is an understatement to say Charles will be missed. Charles and I worked together on fundraising projects, using tools CCDC had never used to fundraise and expanding our donor list. Charles has also been an invaluable contributor to the Communications Committee and Messaging Sub-Committee. On the positive side, I could not be happier for Charles. This is a wonderful opportunity for him to advance his career. His new employer is fortunate to have him, he will be an asset, that is for sure.
In closing, I want to thank everyone for all the hard work they put into petition signing and the patience shown throughout this process. I have listed below some important dates to note.
Charlotte / CCDC Chairwoman Charlotte Valyo
PA REDISTRICTING – FINALLY COMPLETE!
With a unanimous ruling by the State Supreme Court on Wednesday, all legal challenges against the newly redrawn Pennsylvania state legislative maps have been exhausted. We now have finalized district maps that will be used for the next decade. Fair Districts PA, a group which has historically advocated against gerrymandering and in favor of new maps, called them “not perfect…but far better than in recent decades.”
Leading Republicans argued that the maps were partisan and unfairly benefited Democratic candidates, although they create a balance not seen since before 2011 when Republicans used a majority legislature and governorship to impose gerrymandered districts that effectively allowed Republican legislators to choose their own voters rather than voters choosing their elected officials.
CHRISSY HOULAHAN – READY FOR MID-TERMS
Dear Members of the Chester County Democratic Committee,
Thank you all so much for your enormous efforts to ensure I am on the ballot again this November. Thanks to your incredibly hard work, we were able to secure more than 3,900 signatures from registered Democrats in PA-06, nearly four times our required threshold and nearly double what any Republican filed in our race. I am deeply grateful. Now, it’s on to November!
As you all know, here in Pennsylvania, we are facing the most consequential midterm election in recent memory. There are crucial open seats for Governor and Senator, battleground races for state House and Senate, and, of course, our campaign for US Congress in PA-06. This race will be among the most competitive in the country and among those that determine control of the US House.
We must be clear-eyed: this could be the most competitive election for PA-06 we have faced since I was first elected in 2018 – when we took this seat for the first time since the Civil War. After Redistricting, our district remains largely unchanged, and I am glad that the PA-06 continues to include all of Chester County. Still, we picked up about 30,000 new voters, a majority of whom lean Republican. What’s more, we expect the Republican nominee to be serious and well-resourced. There are 4 Republican candidates who filed petitions hoping to challenge me, two of whom have already cut themselves checks for over $250,000. And, as we have grown accustomed to, the national spotlight will be on our race. Both National Committees, the DCCC and NRCC, have listed PA-06 as a priority battleground, and Mike Pence’s Super PAC is already including me in a $10 million ad blitz attacking Democratic Members of Congress.
This challenge is too important to take lightly, but we have the message and vision that connects with our neighbors, and when we work hard, together, we will win.
It is the honor of my lifetime to serve as your Representative in Congress, and it’s a responsibility I take with the utmost seriousness. My team and I work tirelessly to serve constituents, deliver resources to our community, and advance solutions that move our country in a better direction – among other things, ensuring quality healthcare, quality education, and representative government. I can only continue this work thanks to your support, and I am deeply grateful to have you all in my corner.
There’s work to be done,
Chrissy / Chrissy Houlahan, Congresswoman, PA-06
THE NUMBERS TELL A STORY
Democrats have largely welcomed the convenience of mail-in and absentee ballots, while Republicans – warned by Trump to distrust them – have not. The fact is that many people want to vote on Election Day but their work, family, and travel schedules or health conditions prevent them from driving to the polls. The caution for voters is to fill out their ballots and outside envelopes completely, making sure to sign and date the envelope and place the ballot inside the secrecy envelope (without writing on it) and placing it in the outside envelope. Not following the instructions exactly led to 706 Chester County mail-in or absentee ballots being rejected in 2021.
In this chart, mail-in voting increases for both parties in high-stakes elections, but Democrats rates are much higher than Republican rates regardless of the election cycle. Voting by mail helps Democrats win, by making it easier and convenient for them to vote.
You can request a mail-in ballot for both the May 17 Primary and November 8 General Elections here.
WILD CONSPIRACY THEORIES HAVE REPUBLICANS RILED
The Chester County Republican Committee is very angry that they’ve lost the last several elections. Rather than consider that voters no longer support their policies that serve big business and big donors rather than the middle class, they would have you believe that those elections were stolen. Without any evidence and despite mandated election audits and reviews, they are calling for a “forensic audit” similar to those that have already simply validated counts and recounts and audits in Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Recent Chester County Commissioners’ meetings have been inundated with scripted speeches that include wild claims featuring:
- “daily evidence of election irregularities”
- “computer voting cheat machines” (ES&S would like to see you in court)
- “conspiracies to destroy and delete election records and materials” (huh?)
- “preponderance of evidence” (where is it?)
- “statistical anomalies at precinct level with heat maps that defy natural statistical norms and appear manipulated” (they don’t)
- “suspicious voting trends” (what?)
- “poor and illegal security controls for mail-in ballots”
- “more ballots counted than voters”
- “lack of proper chain of custody for ballots and machines”
- “unobserved ballot counting” (just not true)
- “a tractor trailer containing thousands of completed ballots that disappeared suspiciously” (zapped from space?)
- “mysterious changes to numbers of absentee ballots”
- “unresolved voting machine issues” (evidence?)
- “unconstitutional election rule changes” (see Act 77 that Republicans pushed)
- “2000 ‘mules’ paid to deliver ballots, and they had to take photos to get paid”
You get the idea – they are following the Trump (and Putin) script of spreading so much false information, so often, that they start to believe their own lies, despite not a single piece of evidence that supports these theories – because there isn’t one. A secondary intent is to discredit actual votes, make it more difficult to vote, and reverse fair and free election results.
Here’s what we DO know, and why yet another wildly based ‘fraudit’ would be a waste of taxpayer funds:
Chester County Voter Services (CCVS) is fully aware of election process and equipment and software improvements needed and working on them, whereas an outside company has no idea and does not understand the PA election laws and regulations and complex verification and counting processes. The $270K taxpayer-funded GOP State Senate contract to investigate Pennsylvania’s 2020 and 2021 elections is with a 7-month-old company without any knowledge of election laws or procedures founded by a major Republican donor. Having the same type of audit performed in Chester County would add nothing to what CCVS knows now, and the company would still have no idea of changes needed or how to implement them.
Clearly, Chester County taxpayer funds would be better spent on updating systems, already-planned process improvements, and training than a useless audit. The Voter Services director with strong elections administration experience has made her assessment and is leading implementation so Voter Services is prepared for the 2022 Primary. Voter Services is also collaborating with other counties who saw similar issues to arrive at solutions to address these issues such as the problems with envelope ripping that caused county delays last November. Corrective actions include improved chain of control procedures, software upgrades, and more training for officials and workers.
SO… YOUR ONE THING TO DO THIS MONTH
Chester County Voter Services is offering training for poll workers beginning in early April. This is required for Judges of Election and other poll workers. See dates and register here.
CCDC will also be providing training led by our solicitor Liz Swain for poll watchers and those interested in observing vote counts and canvassing. Poll watchers will be extra vital this year because it would not be surprising if Republicans try to disrupt voting with spurious challenges, and every polling place needs someone to sound the alarm.
Send an email to [email protected] if interested.
CCDC and Election Calendar
March 18-28 (Second) Petition Signing Period
March 21 CCDC Nominating/Endorsement Convention
March 23 CCDC Executive Committee Meeting
April 20 CCDC Spring Event with Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan and special guest Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
May 17 Primary Election Day
June 20 CCDC Annual Golf Outing at Whitford County Club
November 8 General Election Day
See the CCDC Calendar for times and details.