Voter Registration/Absentee Ballots

Weather permitting, the Upper Perkiomen Democratic Club will once more be hosting a voter registration and absentee ballot request information table at tomorrow’s East Greenville Community Day (Saturday, September 8th, 2018 – Main Street, East Greenville, PA). We will have forms for voter registration and for requesting absentee ballots.

September 17th is the first day to apply for an absentee ballot in Pennsylvania (and while applications are available online, the form must be printed and mailed to the County Courthouse address found on the online form). While officially an absentee ballot request form may be mailed out as late as the week before the election, since the completed ballot must arrive at the Court House by the Friday before the election (November 6, 2018), to insure that one’s vote is counted one should mail one’s ballot at least a week before the election (and earlier is better).

Voter registration closes on October 9, 2018 (because October 8th is a holiday) – that means the form must arrive at the county seat by that date. One can register to vote online!

Check your voter registration online, to be sure that you haven’t been taken off the rolls for any reason or by error!

Election day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018; polls are open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

2018 PA Democratic Candidates

U.S. Senate – Bob Casey

U.S. House of Representatives, 4th District (which now includes all of Upper Perkiomen Valley) – Madeleine Dean

Governor – Tom Wolf

Lt. Governor – John Fetterman

State Senate, 24th District – Linda Fields

State Representative, 131st District – Andy Lee

State Representative, 147th District (Green Lane and Marlborough Township) – Josh Camson

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.

District 4 Congressional Candidates (and FAQs)

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

Thanks to the new map, all of Upper Perkiomen Valley School District is in the same congressional district – District 4! The Pennsylvania primary election is Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Three individuals have announced they are running in the Democratic primary for our newly drawn congressional district; (Pa State Representative) Mary Jo Daley, (Pa. State Representative) Madeline Dean, and  Shira Goodman (yes, all women!).

On Tuesday, April 3, 2018, you can meet and talk with these 3 congressional candidates, along with our area’s democratic candidates for PA State House; Andy Lee and Josh Camson, and PA State Senate, Linda Fields. The Upper Perk Area 2 meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Upper Perkiomen Middle School, 510 Jefferson Street, East Greenville, PA and is open to the public.

 

A few FAQs

  • Pennsylvania has 18 congressional districts.
  • Each congressional district elects one Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 voting representatives.
  • Each congressional district has roughly 710,000 people in it (as of the 2010 census).
  • Ideally, each district is composed of communities, cities/suburbs/rural areas with shared interests (not voter registration).

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.

Senator Casey, Rep. Dent and Rep. Fitzpatrick Update

Pennsylvania Senator Casey(D), Representative Dent (R -15; Allentown), and Representative Fitzpatrick (R-8th District; Green Lane, Marlborough) have all spoken out against the Executive Order on Immigration.

Senator Casey has announced that he will vote NO on the nominations of DeVos (Secretary Education), Sessions (Attorney General), and Pruitt (Secretary of Environmental Protection Agency).

Beginning at  6 p.m. tonight, Monday, January 30, 2017, on the steps of the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.;

Congressional Democrats (Senators and Representatives) will lead a press event and vigil with refugees, immigrants, and members of the community to call on President Trump to reverse the recent hateful, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant executive orders.

 

Muslim Ban – Action Update

Many may be wondering what, if anything, is being done about the outrageous, unAmerican, and ultimately unConstitutional Executive Order essentially banning Muslims from seven countries from entering the U.S., regardless of 2 year vetting for refugee entry, green card status (10 year visa granting legal status to live in U.S.), family connection (spouse of U.S. citizen), student visa (university student, for example), work visa (those working for Microsoft, for example), those with dual nationalities (e.g. UK and one of seven banned countries),etcetera.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey has come out against this Executive Order and his office was reported to be reaching out to the Department of Homeland Security in an attempt to help the two Syrian families currently being detained at Philadelphia Airport.However, according to other news reports, it may be too late;

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says the Trump administration may have given two Syrian families reportedly turned away at Philadelphia International Airport “a death sentence.”

NBC Philadelphia is reporting that two Syrian families who arrived at PHL Airport this morning from Qatar “were briefly detained and then sent back on a return 18-hour flight to the Middle East, according to a family member from Allentown, Pennsylvania.” They were reportedly immigrating to the country legally and working to gain citizenship.

rest of report, with complete statement by Mayor Kenney

Pennsylvania Congressman Dent has publicly asked Trump to halt action on the Executive Order;

“This is ridiculous,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). “I guess I understand what his intention is, but unfortunately the order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration. You know, there are many, many nuances of immigration policy that can be life or death for many innocent, vulnerable people around the world.”

Dent, who represents a large Syrian community in the Allentown area, said he was contacted Saturday by a constituent who had family members turned away early in the morning at Philadelphia International Airport. Six family members who had secured visas and even bought a house in Pennsylvania arrived on a Qatar Airways flight but were returned back within hours, he said.

“This family was sent home despite having all their paperwork in order,” Dent continued, “so this 90-day ban could imperil the lives of this family and potentially others, and it’s unacceptable, and I urge the administration to halt enforcement of this order until a more thoughtful and deliberate policy can be reinstated.”

More Republicans are speaking out against Trump’s refugee ban. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell aren’t among them. – Washington Post, January 28, 2017

Protests are currently being held at several major international airports in the United States, including New York’s John F Kennedy Airport, and Philadelphia International Airport, with many more scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday, January 29, 2017.

Philadelphia International Airport Protest – Sunday, January 29, 2017 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Terminal A West (Arrivals)

White House No Muslim Ban Protest, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. – Sunday, January 29, 2017 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

 

You can make a difference!

Phone calls and emails worked towards pressuring the Republican controlled Senate to delay four cabinet confirmation hearings today (3 of the nominees have not yet been cleared by Office of Government Ethics), and to back down last week from destroying (for all practical purposes) the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The most important factors in making this kind of difference are to call the D.C. office or local office of your Representative and/or Senator, and to talk about one specific issue per call (or email).

Find the list of your federal and state elected officials and contact information here.

Vote!

Polls open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Remember, vote Democrat up and down the ballot -President Hillary Rodham Clinton will need a Senate and House of Representatives who will work with her!

East Greenville – Open Link/Upper Perk Senior Center, 517 Jefferson Street

Pennsburg – Pennsburg Borough Hall, 76 West Sixth Street (by the Police Station)

Red Hill – Red Hill Borough Hall, 56 West Fourth Street (by Red Hill Park)

Green Lane – Green Lane Ambulance Assoc., 209 Walnut Street

Marlborough Township – Marlborough Township Building, 6040 Upper Ridge Road

Upper Hanover 1 – Upper Perkiomen Educ. Center, 2229 East Buck Road, Pennsburg

Upper Hanover 2 – St. Philip Neri Church, 1325 Klinerd Road, Pennsburg

Upper Hanover 3 – Palm Schwenkfelder Church, 883 Gravel Pike Road (Route 29), Palm

Upper Hanover Township voting districts – map

Still not sure? The Polling Place Search will help you locate the polling place for a given residential address. Begin by typing the county of residence. After the county has been selected, the city field will activate, allowing you to enter a city. Then enter the street name and the house number.