In just a few years, voting districts will be redrawn across the country, and there’s a bipartisan push trickling down to the Lehigh Valley to do away with “gerrymandering.” Every 10 years, voting lines are redrawn with the census. Gerrymandering refers to manipulating voting district lines to benefit a party. It’s named after Eldridge Gerry, a former vice president and Massachusetts governor in the early 1800’s. In Pennsylvania, the political party in charge draws the lines. With the lines set to be drawn again in 2020, there is a growing movement to change how the districts are divided.
Articles about voting issues in Pennsylvania.
Lawyers for the Green Party and the Republican Party (yes, you read that right) are joining in a lawsuit asking a federal judge to throw out the results of a special Pennsylvania House election in a North Philadelphia district last month. The suit says the election, won overwhelmingly by Democrat Emilio Vasquez, was marked by widespread voter intimidation and election tampering. “I’ve been practicing election law in Philadelphia for 12 years,” GOP attorney Linda Kerns said. “And what happened that day is the worst case of election code violations in Philadelphia history, and I think that’s saying a lot.”
Pennsylvania: Republicans and Green Party to judge: Hold a new 197th District election | Philadelphia Inquirer
Two losing candidates on Thursday asked a federal judge to throw out the results of the controversial March 21 special election for the 197th Pennsylvania House District and order a new election, alleging the Democratic Party and its candidate engaged in illegal electioneering. The lawsuit from Republican nominee Lucinda Little and Green Party nominee Cheri Honkala was filed one day after Democrat Emilio Vazquez was sworn into office. The 29-page suit is a litany of complaints about shady tactics in the North Philadelphia district. The two candidates, along with the city and state Republican Parties and the state Green Party, are suing Vazquez, Philadelphia’s Democratic City Committee, and the Board of City Commissioners and Department of State, which oversaw the election.
Pennsylvania: Vazquez sworn in for 197th District seat as investigation, lawsuit loom | Philadelphia Inquirer
Emilio Vazquez, the Democratic leader of Philadelphia’s 43rd Ward, was sworn in Wednesday as the newest state representative for the 197th District after a special election that is being investigated by city and state prosecutors for alleged voter fraud. … Vazquez’s main two opponents, Republican nominee Lucinda Little and Green Party nominee Cheri Honkala, each vowed two days after the election to sue in federal court to overturn the results, alleging that voters were intimidated or misled by illegal electioneering in polling places. The Pennsylvania Republican Party and the Green Party last week again vowed to sue in a joint effort.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General is joining an investigation of last week’s special election for a North Philadelphia state house seat. The results are also being challenged in court. It’s been a bumpy ride for this seat. The ballot featured just one name– a Republican, though the district is 85 percent Democrat. Democrat Emilio Vazquez ran a write in campaign, as did Cheri Honkala of the Green Party. Honkala and Republicans complained throughout the day about Democratic election officials violating electioneering and voter assistance laws.
Pennsylvania: The 197th District has an unofficial winner, and an official investigation | Philadelphia Inquirer
The contentious and controversial special election for the 197th District of the state House has an unofficial winner — Democrat Emilio Vazquez. It also has an official investigation by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office into allegations of voter fraud during Tuesday’s election. Staffers from the city’s Board of Elections spent Friday morning methodically combing through long reams of narrow paper tapes, calling out the votes for write-in candidates such as Vazquez. The count showed Vazquez winning with 73.5 percent of the vote. Green Party nominee Cheri Honkala, who like Vazquez was kept off the ballot by a Commonwealth Court judge’s ruling, finished second with 10.5 percent. Other write-in candidates took a combined 8.6 percent.
Pennsylvania: Controversial 197th District special election heading to federal court? | Philadelphia Inquirer
Tuesday’s controversial special election to fill the state House’s 197th District seat may be moving from the polling place to federal court, as Philadelphia’s City Commissioners prepare to start tallying the votes Friday morning. Lawyers for Republican nominee Lucinda Little, the only candidate who was listed on the ballot, and Green Party nominee Cheri Honkala, who waged a write-in campaign, sent letters to the Commissioners Thursday, demanding that they seal and preserve the ballots. Both camps alleged widespread voter fraud in the North Philadelphia district. Little won just 198 votes, which was 7.4 percent of the 2,681 ballots cast. In an unusual development, 2,483 write-in votes were cast.
Voting in a special election to fill a vacant state House of Representatives seat ended Tuesday night with no clear winner: The only candidate on the ballot tallied less than 8 percent of the votes, with the rest going to write-in candidates. With all precincts counted in North Philadelphia’s largely Democratic 197th District, Republican Lucinda Little had 198 votes, the rest — 2,483 — going to a number of write-in candidates, including Democrat Emilio Vazquez and the Green Party’s Cheri Honkala. Deputy City Commissioner Tim Dowling said a winner won’t be declared until at least Friday.
Pennsylvania Sen. Lisa Boscola said state Senate leaders are drafting a voters bill of rights, a collection of bipartisan proposals that would make it easier to vote with things like no-excuse required absentee ballots, same-day registration and pre-registration of younger voters when they get their first drivers license. Boscola said the package also addresses gerrymandering. “Take it out of the hands of the elected officials and put it into the hands of the citizenry, like some other states have done, that promotes better government,” said Boscola. Boscola said she is working on a bill that would build that better government by allowing independent voters to participate in primary elections.
Pennsylvania: In final count, local recounts cost taxpayers $37,000 in overtime pay | Philadelphia Inquirer
The recounts in the presidential and senatorial races didn’t affect the results but they did have a mild effect on taxpayers — costing $37,000 in overtime pay — officials said. Philadelphia and Chester County were the only counties in the region to agree to recounts in Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s bid to overturn the result in the Pennsylvania tally that gave President-elect Donald Trump a narrow victory. Recounts also were requested in the closely contested U.S. Senate race won by GOP incumbent Pat Toomey over Democrat Katie McGinty. The overtime bills for the recounts in the two races were $32,000 for Chester County, and $5,000 for Philadelphia, officials said Thursday.