There is something to be said for tomorrow’s primary election in Pennsylvania: You have choices—at least, in many races. That’s no small thing, in a city that often feel like Moscow on the Schuylkill. Among those choices: Women, first-time candidates, scientists, activists, change-makers—and party favorites. Take your pick; it’s your choice to make.
It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for politics, and there are changes afoot at every turn. We’ve looked at many of those changes here at The Citizen, as well as changes that still need to be made, to ensure better and more open elections.
As you prepare to head to the polls tomorrow—because, of course you are heading to the polls—take a few minutes to check in on what’s at stake.
Redistricting, redistricting, redistricting
The year’s biggest electoral news was also something that could have the biggest impact now and for the future: Redistricting. No longer is Pennsylvania the country’s most gerrymandered disaster. For this election at least, we have a map that is—despite the naysayers—something that is fair, and actually a sign of progress. That in and of itself makes this election more exciting: Just look at the 5th District, where 10 candidates are vying to represent South Philly and Delaware County in Congress.
Learn about the new Districts here:
Less protest, more action
Last year started with what seemed like one continuous protest. This year, it’s been quieter on the streets—but more active where it can really make a difference: The behind the scenes work of running for office.
One way that has been apparent is in the newcomers running for the lowest possible elected position in Philadelphia: Committeeperson. The position is often a steppingstone to further involvement in electoral politics—so, the folks running could be our future. In some neighborhoods, there’s been a huge swell in candidates; in others, not so much. But that itself can be an opportunity: It’s not too late to mount a write-in campaign. You could win with just a handful of votes
Want to run next time? Here’s how you can do it:
The Year of the Woman
Pennsylvania has exactly zero women representing us in Congress. And in Harrisburg, a disaster of sexual harassment, we have among the country’s lowest number of women in office. That can change this year—if we demand it at the polls.
There are lots of women running in races all across the region, some—like Chrissy Houlahan—who are likely to win. Others, though, are in races that also include men who are part of the same old guard we’ve already seen plenty of.
…literally. It is clear to most by now that our voting system is vulnerable. That includes the machines on which you’ll be casting a ballot Tuesday.
This is why the state is requiring all jurisdictions in Pennsylvania to install new voting machines by 2020 that leave a paper trail to ensure our elections are secure from hackers, Russian or otherwise. But in Philly? Our City Commissioners are…declining the demand.
New machines are just one way our elections system could be reformed, to ensure more people can vote, that they have choices, and that they actually do it. Here are some others:
Getting out the vote, of course, has proven to be the hardest political act in and of itself. That’s why a group of Fairhill residents are trying something different this time around:
Citizen 2018 Voters Guide
Convinced? Good. Here’s what you need to know for the election tomorrow: