News & Brews April 7, 2022
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State agencies’ sharing voters’ information draws criticism
Apparently, the Pennsylvania Department of State is “access[ing] email addresses and cell phone numbers from other state agencies to aid its voter outreach efforts,” PennLive reports. And not everyone is happy about it. The story notes, “Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon County, said he has heard from voters who were incensed over receiving emails and text messages with invitations to apply for a mailed ballot when they never provided that contact information to the state department but may have to other state agencies.” As for which law authorizes this data-sharing, the Department of State’s Deputy Secretary for Elections & Commissions is going to get back to lawmakers and let them know.
Tuesday’s special elections results
On Tuesday, voters in three legislative districts—two in Allegheny County and one in Luzerne County—chose new lawmakers to complete the unexpired terms of former officeholders who left for other roles. In Allegheny County, Democrats Aerion Abney and Martell Covington came out on top, while in Luzerne County, Republican Robert Schnee won the election. City & State PA has more, including which of these lawmakers are running again to stay in office after this year.
GOP gubernatorial primary goes negative
The Inquirer takes a look at the new ad by GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain, in which he warns against “gambling with career politicians,” referring to candidates Lou Barletta, Dave White, and Doug Mastriano. Read the Inky piece here. (Disclosure: Commonwealth Partners has endorsed Bill McSwain for governor.)
Survey: 70% of Philly residents see crime as top issue
According to a new poll from the The Pew Charitable Trusts, Philly has seen a sharp rise in the percent of residents who see crime as the city’s top issue. The poll found that “70% of Philadelphians see crime, drugs, and public safety as the most important issue facing the city—up nearly 30 percentage points from 2020. The portion of residents who feel safe in their neighborhood at night dropped to 44%, the lowest since the poll’s 2009 onset.” What’s more, when it coms to the impacts of government’s COVID policies, “about one-third of Philadelphians say they are worse off today than when the economy shut down in March 2020.” See the poll results here.
Lots of people broke election law in Lehigh County—here’s how
At least a few hundred voters broke the law in Lehigh County by dropping off more than one ballot at drop boxes, investigators found. Yet, County District Attorney Jim Martin noted that while investigators found “a technical violation of the law by dropping two ballots instead of one,” they did not find fraud. You’ll recall, even Gov. Wolf’s wife violated the law by dropping off her husband’s ballot along with hers. Notably, legislation proposed last year by Republican Rep. Seth Grove (York County) would have addressed this problem by requiring that drop boxes be monitored to prevent illegal voting. Gee, if only Democrats hadn’t opposed the bill and Gov. Wolf hadn’t vetoed it.