It was a bit startling to see recently on the website of LWVUS the headline: The 2016 Presidential Election WAS Rigged. The point of the article is that one of the ways an election is “rigged” is through voter suppression and, we might add, unfair and illegal voting district boundaries - nicknamed gerrymandering. Since the Supreme Court rolled back key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, there is a lot of work to be done to improve access to the vote for all citizens. Reinstating the voting rights act provisions is a major task at the national level, but we can work locally, regionally and on the state level to make sure our voting districts meet non-partisan guidelines and that registration and voting is safe and convenient.
Election day involvement locally included efforts to make sure provisional ballots were properly made available. As it turned out, 149 provisional ballots were considered by the Monroe County Election Board at their official meeting after the November 8, 2016 election. At a League conference call after the election, it was mentioned that one county's representative would be determined by provisional voting and that some counties in Pennsylvania had as many provisional ballots cast as the entire state of Wisconsin.
The topic of this year's statewide study, Election Law: Review and Update, is particularly timely due to interest in alternatives to PA's current closed primary system and discussions about other ways to make voting accessible and convenient. Thanks to Rose Ann Ferullo for chairing this study. As members, you can read the background materials on the LWVPA website and then participate in the meetings when they are scheduled in the new year. The discussions will focus on the consensus questions which are used to develop our Pennsylvania league positions. Another way to get involved is to learn and help us educate the public about the gerrymandering of Pennsylvania legislative districts. LWVPA is part of a bipartisan redistricting effort which needs to keep moving now in order to be implemented with the 2020 census. We will have our public information meeting in March. Look for more information at www.fairdistrictspa.com.
We still do not have further details of what help is needed for the 2017 state League Convention to be held in Monroe County, but please keep the dates June 1-4, 2017 open on your calendars. Remember to visit www.palwv.org for the positions on statewide issues and www.lwv.org for national news and issues.
In League – Barbara Keiser