News for Democrats in Upper Perkiomen Valley

As always, fall is a busy time, when people start paying closer attention to political news as the November election grows closer, and opportunities for local political action increases.

While it is true that the Upper Perkiomen Democratic Club has gone dormant (more on that in an upcoming post), many, if not all, of the same people will be involved in the same activities, and welcoming all local democrats to be part of the process!

The Upper Perkiomen Area 2 Democratic Committee (the local Democratic political party) has big plans for this fall, including hosting our Montgomery County (Democratic) Commissioners, Val Arkoosh and Ken Lawrence tomorrow, Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at their scheduled monthly meeting, to which all democrats are invited. Their meetings are held at Open Link Senior Center, 517 Jefferson Street, East Greenville, PA, from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

For nearly twenty years, the UPDC had a voter registration and information table at Community Day on the first Saturday in September in East Greenville. A few years ago, the Upper Perkiomen Area 2 Democrats (UP Area 2 Democratic Committee) began also offering information on voter registration, absentee ballot request forms, and information about candidates and local party activities – last year their table was right across the street from the UPDC table! Rather than duplicate efforts, this voter registration and information effort will now be organized by the UP Area 2 Democrats. Stop by and say hello (or volunteer to help out for an hour or two – contact Area 2 Leader Elaine Hannock at area2dems@gmail.com if you can  help out on Saturday, September 7, 2019).

Over the last few years, both the UPDC and the UP Area 2 Democrats have paraded one after another down Main Street in the annual Upper Perkiomen Halloween Parade. It is our understanding that the Area 2 Democratic Committee  will continue this tradition of representing Democrats in our community in the parade.

While the presidential election is still a year away, the 2019 November election is important – among other decisions to be made on the ballot this fall, 5 out of 9 school board seats are up for election this year!

Stay informed, stay involved, and vote!

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PA 2018 Primary Races Called

Of most interest to those in the Upper Perkiomen Valley, the following contested primary races have been called:

PA Congressional District 3 –  Madeleine Dean

Lt. Governor – John Fetterman

The other statewide races were not contested in the 2018 Pennsylvania Primary Election.

Breaking News on Congressional Race in 4th District PA

State Representative Mary Jo Daley has dropped out of the 4th District Congressional Democratic primary race. She has asked her supporters to turn and support State Representative Madeleine Dean for United States Congress.

Other candidates in the democratic primary for this seat (which represents the entire Upper Perkiomen Valley), are Shira Goodman and, late entry to the race, Joe Hoeffel. (The Joe Hoeffel campaign does not have a website at this time.)

The Pennsylvania Primary election is on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Polls are open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. In order to vote in the primary, one must be registered with a political party; Pennsylvania hold closed primaries which means that only registered democrats can vote in the democratic primary. Any registered voter can vote for any candidate of any party in the November election.

Wednesday – “Harrisburg Rally for Common Sense Gun Laws”

CeaseFirePA is leading Demand A Vote Rally in Harrisburg, PA at the state capitol rotunda on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on Gun Violence policy proposals during the week of April 9th.  While only members of the General Assembly can testify in front of the committee, we will make our voices heard on April 11!

Join us as we rally in the rotunda to show the PA Legislature just how many people have had enough and want common sense gun laws.

WHAT: Demand a Vote rally for better Gun Laws
WHEN: April 11th, 2018 10:00AM
WHERE: The Rotunda of the PA Capitol in Harrisburg

 

CeaseFirePA will be sponsoring buses to attend the rally.

Reserve a seat for yourself and others from Allentown to Harrisburg here.

Temple Beth El will the bus pickup and drop-off location, 1305 Springhouse Rd, Allentown, PA 18104. 7:15AM will be the boarding time, for a 7:30AM departure.

If you are reserving a seat for yourself and others, please ensure that you include each person that needs a seat on the bus. (Bus tickets are free!)

Questions? Contact Michael Cogbill at michael.cogbill@ceasefirepa.org or 215.435.6496.

New Voting Machines for Montgomery County

Montgomery County will be purchasing new voting machines this year. All voting machines will have a paper backup, and will meet state and federal security requirements. The new machines will retain a paper record of all votes cast.

Read all the Montgomery County New Machine FAQs

You can view all the voting machines (photos and descriptions) under consideration, and submit your comments on the Montgomery County Voting Machine Feedback Form until Friday, March 16, 2018 at 12 noon.

Check out the new Congressional District Maps for Pennsylvania!

new pa map
 JARED WHALEN
The new congressional map released Monday by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, when the politicians in Harrisburg were unable to agree on a new map that adhered to the Court’s ruling, had redistricting expert Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University law professor, draw the new Congressional District map for Pennsylvania. This is intended to go in effect immediately, and candidates for these districts will be voted on in the spring primary and November election; winners to be sworn in to office in January 2019. On first glance, it looks like all of the Upper Perkiomen Valley may be in the newly drawn 4th District. (If you are not convinced by PhillyNews’ map below, check out PennLive – enlarge the “District 7 becomes District 6 (sort of) map where you can see East Greenville, Pennsburg, Red Hill, and Green Lane in District 4.)

However, bear in mind that Republican legislators are expected to challenge the new map in Federal Court this week.

oldandnewmap
SOURCE: Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania – graphic by PhillyNews staff

Local Districts Under the Supreme Court Plan

Local congressional districts under the old 2011 map drawn by Pennsylvania’s Republican-led legislature split 28 counties into several districts, including Montgomery County, which had parts of the Second, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and 13th Districts. The new map released on Monday by the state Supreme Court, which invalidated the the 2011 map, centers Montgomery County in the Fourth District. Only 13 counties are split in the new plan, and Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties are each entirely within a single district.

Under the court’s redrawn map, districts more closely align with county lines, and only 13 counties are split among two or three districts. By contrast, under the last map, enacted by the legislature in 2011, more than twice as many counties were split among multiple districts.

In striking down that map last month as unconstitutional, the justices said the new districts should be as compact and contiguous as possible. Their new map, they wrote in an order, is “superior or comparable” to proposals submitted by the participants and interested groups during the legal challenge that led to the historic ruling.

Read the rest of the article  Pa. gerrymandering case: State Supreme Court releases new congressional map for 2018 elections by Jonathan Lai & Liz Navratil, STAFF WRITERS

2018 PA Congressional Districts and Election

This is one of those times when there is too much news, and even more confusion than usual. As of today, a new Pennsylvania congressional district map is due to be available on Monday, February 19, 2018. Since Governor Wolf has rejected the GOP plan, it goes to the state Supreme Court to decide on the map. The Washington Post’s website has an excellent article (with graphics) comparing the different proposed maps, and explaining why neither map would closely represent the Democratic party’s statewide vote share; Here’s how Pennsylvania Democrats’ congressional map proposal stacks up against the current Republican ones. 

If you don’t have time to read the article, here’s an excerpt;

It’s also worth noting that the districts in the Democratic map are just a hair more compact than the latest Republican-drawn districts. Sprawling, un-compact districts are often an indicator that some degree of partisan shenanigans were involved in the boundary drawing. That’s why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has stated that compactness should be a key criteria in how the new districts are ultimately drawn.

The court is under no obligation to accept either the Democratic or Republican maps. But it is likely to take them under consideration as it works with a third-party redistricting expert, Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University, to draw a final, nonpartisan map. Then, following the 2020 Census, the entire redistricting process will start again.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding district lines, it was necessary to change the dates and deadlines for petitions to get candidates on the primary ballot. Pennsylvania congressional candidates can begin collecting signatures on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – signatures must come from within the new congressional district. Petitions must be notarized and delivered to the county courthouse by Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

The deadline to register to vote in the PA primary election this year is Monday, April 16, 2018. Pennsylvania hold “closed primaries” which means only registered Democrats may vote in the primary for those on the Democratic side of the ballot (and registered Republicans vote for Republicans in the primary). The Pennsylvania primary election is Tuesday, May 15, 2018; polls are open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.