PA Supreme Court overturns Congressional Maps

Dear Nether Providence Democrats:

 Map of current PA gerrymander

Map of current PA gerrymander

By now, I am sure most of you are aware that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled today in the case brought by the League of Women Voters that the the Congressional District map adopted by the PA legislature violates the Pennsylvania Constitution.  The state Supreme Court has ordered that the congressional districts be redrawn in time for the May primary.  The new map must be in place by February 9.  That should allow petitions to circulate as planned, but a delay would not surprise me.  The Republican leadership in the Pennsylvania legislature has also promised to seek a stay from the US Supreme Court.  Because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court expressly stated that it was rendering its decision under the state constitution, it will be hard for the Republicans to articulate a federal basis for staying their decision but this is politics.  I expect to hear more about the petition process and the status of the appeal on or before the County Democratic Committee's leader's meeting on Wednesday and will report back.  If the maps are redrawn, I expect that Nether Providence will move back to the 7th Congressional District.  Stay tuned.

Text of the ruling can be found here.  

Running for Committee

In this year's primary every precinct in Pennsylvania will elect two local committee members.  What do these committee members do?  According to the Delaware County Democratic Committee's bylaws, they:

1) elect the chair of the county and local parties in reorganization meetings after the election.  These positions are important because they control almost everything the party does.
2) participate in committee meetings such as ones where we vote on endorsements
3) register more Democrats
4) circulate and file nominating petitions to get Democrats on the ballot
5) recruit candidates for local offices
6) organize political activity, such as canvassing, phone banking, holding events, staffing the polls on election day, etc.

For Democrats to win, we need committee members that will connect with their neighbors, both keeping them informed and listening to their concerns.  We need people that will help us with fundraising and canvassing.  We need people that will show up on election day to greet their neighbors as they vote or staff the polls so the precincts are open and elections are conducted properly.  Being a committee person means you get a say in how the party is run and which candidates are endorsed, but we also need people that will show up to help get the work done.

If you’re interested in running for committee, either contact the chair, Christine Reuther or email us at .  To run for committee, you'll need to get at least 10 signatures (25 or more is recommended) on a nominating petition from registered Democrats in your precinct.  While committee members gather signatures to get on the ballot they can also collect signatures for other Democrats running - especially Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky this year.  Petitions start Feb 13 and run through March 6th.  Petitions will be available to pick up and sign at February's meeting, so please bring all the registered Democrats you can to our February meeting.

In many precincts, we have more than two Democrats that would be great committee members.  After the election, the chair has the ability to appoint 26 at-large committee members.  These have slightly less voting rights at the county level, but we will be appointing hardworking Democrats to these positions after the election in May.  Even if you don’t want to run now, let us know you're interested in being appointed.

Vote NO on Homestead Exemption

Originally posted to Facebook by Laura Wentz of the Upper Darby Democratic Party,


PA voters. When you vote on November 7, there's going to be a ballot question. It asks voters to approve an amendment to our State Constitution, potentially reducing or eliminating taxes based on the assessed value of the primary residence of a homeowner.

Sounds good, huh? Hold on though. If this ballot question passes, it would force an increase of other local taxes causing irreparable harm to the working poor and middle class.

This ballot question leaves the replacement for these taxes an open question. So how do we fund both County and local public services as well as public schools that are currently supported by these taxes? Some of the ideas floated include an increase of sales and income taxes. This potentially harms those on a fixed income including Veterans, disabled and retired taxpayers. This is a regressive tax plan, supported by conservative organizations, including anti-tax groups, anti-public school groups, and groups that want to privatize and create for-profit schools. It has not been endorsed by a single organization that serves workers, students, Veterans, retired taxpayers, or disabled taxpayers. All it's doing is shifting the tax burden to those who can least afford it.


Property tax reform is a hot topic in Pennsylvania and many other states. However, the PA State Constitution requires education funding for all students. While we all want to pay less tax, for true reform we need a severence tax on Marcellus shale drillers among other options. Until we get a sensible source of funding for our schools, we can't eliminate school taxes. 
Thank you Janice HamanTiffany Boyd Hodgson & Michele Cooper for this information!



Republican Judge Keeps Republican Nether Providence Tax Collector on Ballot

Because of the nature of their work, tax collectors must be bonded.  Access to candidate's financial disclosure forms allows voters to determine whether candidates are, like Kris Laubscher, qualified for the job's requirements.  Last month Nether Providence residents filed a motion to remove the Republican candidate for Nether Providence tax collector from the ballot for failure to file this paperwork with the township as required. 

Judge Chad Kenney, a Republican like every other judge in Delaware County and a former leader of the Nether Providence Republican Party, ruled that candidates that reach the ballot by write-in are not required to file financial disclosure forms.  It means that a candidate that fails to meet a threshold requirement as a candidate can bypass that requirement by getting on the general election ballot as a write in. This is bad law and yet another example of the lengths to which Republican judges will go to support fellow Republicans.  This is why we need to elect fair judges like Kelly Eckel to the bench.

Reuther vs. Rossi page 1.png
Reuther vs. Rossi page 2.png

The Power of Precinct Committee People by Mitch Kates

As you have seen for the past few months, we at the State Party have been spending a lot of time pushing for Precinct Committee Member recruitment (to fill open slots) and even updating our Precinct Committee Member Handbook (so folks know their roles & responsibilities.) There's a very good reason why we are pushing & promoting this effort, because building up our Precinct Committee Member ranks is our BEST way of increasing our chances of winning elections! Building out our ground troops is the most effective way to talk to, educate, persuade and eventually pull out voters (your neighbors) from one Election Cycle to the next.

With this in mind, I thought it would be fun/interesting to share with you all an experience I had not that long ago that really highlights the importance of having boots on the ground- in essence a fully filled Precinct Committee Member rank & file. This experience, by the way, happened on the other side of the world in the former Soviet country of Georgia...

In 2012 I was dropped into the country of Georgia in the dead of winter to help manage the upstart campaign of a coalition of opposition Parties taking on the western-supported Saakashvili UNM government (how supported? they actually have a "George W Bush Highway," seriously!). When I first hit the ground, after getting over jet lag and working through the language barrier, I immediately got to work and started by collecting data & research on the lay-of-the-land in terms of past elections.

When I asked specific questions about previous cycles, one bit of information jumped off the pages. How was it possible that the current government was able to not only win the previous hotly contested elections but results showed that in some precincts the government actually won 110% of the vote in certain precincts? Yes, you read that right- 110%! And here's a not-so-fun fact, the US government representatives overseeing the elections at the time signed off on those election results giving them basically an "all good here," declaring the ruling party the winner.

Here is where it got interesting.... when digging into the details I learned that where the opposition Party had people at the polls the votes were either very close to the government numbers or the opposition won those precincts. But where the polls were not covered- because the opposition didn't have enough people (let's call them Precinct Committee Members) the government won ALL of them, and yes some of them they won by 110%!!! On one side of town, in a given village, the opposition won one precinct while being soundly defeated at another poll- in the same village. What was the common denominator? One poll had coverage and one poll had none.

Obviously we needed to do something about that... So during the almost year-long effort we went village by village convincing folks that it was ok and safe to come out and support this newly formed coalition. By the way, all this time the government was either fining suspected supporters, firing them from their jobs, closing down businesses that helped the cause, taking people's homes & selling them off the next day, and even imprisoning supporters of the opposition Party coalition. I can honestly tell you I saw each and every one of those actions happening- in real time. But this new coalition (called "The Georgian Dream") kept stubbornly chugging along... village by village, door by door (some houses didn't actually have doors- or roofs) we were able to build our ranks as more and more people began to give less credence to fear and more toward believing they could overthrow the government and change their country.

By the time Election Day came we had EVERY poll covered and there was even a little political stunt your's truly pulled off (as mentioned in this mini-memoir story of my adventures in Georgia. FYI, make sure to look for the part about "orange t-shirts" ;) - click this link: Mitch's Georgian Adventure)

Spoiler Alert: With all the odds against us and literally no one on the planet thinking we had a chance, we shocked the world and won the elections. Most, if not all of it, was won on the ground and in the trenches. We built out our field forces- our Precinct Committee slots (they just called it something different)- and we kept building & building our troops on the ground to the point of overwhelming the government and the ruling party.

Field works folks. It DOES matter that we fill our Democratic rank and file- every single slot- and then some. We can and must take back our state and country and that begins by building out our rank and file... our Precinct Committee Members.

Thank you for all that you do to help get Democrats elected and for all that you are doing, county by county, to build up our Democratic infrastructure.

To Victory!

You can find Delco's Committee Person Handbook here.