On Wednesday, the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) and ACTION United entered a Court approved Settlement Agreement with the Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander, and Secretary of Health Dr. Eli N. Avila resolving claims relative to the Commonwealth’s compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Since its 1993 enactment, the NVRA has helped ensure that low-income residents receive an opportunity to register to vote by mandating that all public assistance agencies offer voter registration services. The plaintiffs are represented by a coalition of national voting rights groups including Demos, Project Vote, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and pro bono counsel Hogan Lovells, US LLP.
The plaintiffs’ initial complaint alleged that the majority of clients seeking public assistance services in Pennsylvania were not being offered voter registration opportunities in accordance with the law.
Per the terms of the settlement, the Commonwealth has agreed to the following:
The term of the agreement will be three years – ending September 2015.
In the past several years, lawsuits filed by the same voting rights groups have led to other states that had been disregarding the NVRA to comply, with dramatic results. For example, applications from Missouri public assistance agencies skyrocketed, from fewer than 8,000 a year to almost 10,000 a month, following settlement of a suit in that state in 2009. Nearly 480,000 low-income Ohioans have applied to register since a similar case was settled there at the end of 2009. Cases were also recently settled in New Mexico, Indiana, and Georgia.
“The people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and indeed the nation, who might benefit the most from having an ongoing, consistent, and accessible opportunity to register to vote are low income residents. The opportunity for political empowerment and the opportunity to vote in each and every election cannot be underestimated. A lifetime commitment to voting is crucial,” said Tim Stevens, chairman and CEO of B-PEP, “If this agreement has its intended effect, there could be hundreds of thousands of eligible voters added to the rolls every year.”
“Voting is the cornerstone of civic engagement and a critical part of being a citizen,” said Lucille Prater-Holliday, president of ACTION United. “Public assistance offices are tasked with facilitating the voter registration of low-income citizens. Without full and robust compliance with the NVRA the disenfranchisement and disengagement of these citizens is only perpetuated. We are glad that the Commonwealth has bound itself to a meaningful implementation of the statute.”
READ THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (PDF) >>>
A multi-issue national organization, Demos combines research, policy development, and advocacy to influence public debates and catalyze change. We publish books, reports, and briefing papers that illuminate critical problems and advance innovative solutions; work at both the national and state level with advocates and policymakers to promote reforms; help to build the capacity and skills of key progressive constituencies; project our values into the media by promoting Demos Fellows and staff in print, broadcast, and Internet venues; and host public events that showcase new ideas and leading progressive voices.
Most people already know or sense that Pennsylvania has dropped from 8th to 47th in job creation under Corbett. That’s an important issue that Corbett lies about in this campaign mailer.
The real message in this mailer is subliminal. “The effectiveness of subliminal messaging has been demonstrated to prime individual responses and stimulate mild emotional activity.” – Wikipedia
The images of Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf are several shades darker than the images of President Obama in this Republican mailer. The reality is that Wolf’s skin color is much lighter than Obama’s.
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Pennsylvania officials have refused to disclose information that freight railroads provide about shipments of volatile crude oil through the state.
In the wake of several fiery accidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation in May issued an emergency order requiring railroads to report to state emergency management officials the number of trains carrying oil from the Bakken Shale formation in the Midwest and the routes of the shipments.
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Jon Schmitz | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 03 Aug 2014 Hits:695 Pennsylvania
A federal district court judge struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, handing gay rights advocates their second legal victory in as many days.
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Bucks County activists hung a cease and desist order outside Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick's Langhorne office.
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A liberal group based in Harrisburg will fan out across the state and into the Philadelphia suburbs Tuesday to try to put pressure on Republicans in Congress toward ending the federal government shutdown.
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Ben Finley | Philadelphia Inquirer 16 Oct 2013 Hits:526 Pennsylvania
Sometimes it's the thought that counts.
A "cease and desist" order Roger Lund delivered to the Gettysburg office of Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, doesn't carry any legal weight, but Lund said the message behind the order is the whole point.
Lund and a group of about 80 Adams County residents delivered the letter around 11:30 Tuesday morning, about two days before the nation was set to default on its debts.
There's a national crisis that, according to Lund and his group, was caused by a small group of extremists in the House...
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Pennsylvania voters will not have to show photo identification at the polls until the Commonwealth Court makes a final decision in the lawsuit challenging the controversial law. Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley issued an order on August 16th extending the preliminary injunction of the voter ID law until the trial court makes a decision on a permanent injunction. That decision, which is separate from today’s ruling, is not expected until later this year. “We are very pleased that hundreds of thousands of eligible voters will be able to cast...
Sara Mullen | PA ACLU 16 Aug 2013 Hits:657 Pennsylvania
“In the absence of state law, business entities are nothing.”
A Pennsylvania judge in the heart of the Keystone State’s fracking belt has issued a forceful and precedent-setting decision holding that there is no corporate right to privacy under that state’s constitution, giving citizens and journalists a powerful tool to understand the health and environmental impacts of natural gas drilling in their communities.
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They just won't quit, will they? The New Castle News (where I get most of my information these days*) is reporting that Harrisburg legislative powerhouse Sen. Dominic Pileggi has yet another scheme in which Pennsylvania would award a number of electoral votes to the losing candidate under a system not used in any of the other 49 states.
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Will Bunch | Philly.com 05 Feb 2013 Hits:822 Pennsylvania
Last month, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called up “states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red” to rig future presidential elections by changing the way electoral votes are allocated. Under Priebus’ proposal, blue states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would stop awarding electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole, and instead would award them one-by-one to the winner of each congressional district. Meanwhile, red states would continue to award 100 percent of their...
Ian Milhiser | Think Progress - Justice 04 Feb 2013 Hits:1002 Pennsylvania
Milton and Catherine Hershey signed the deed of trust establishing the Milton Hershey School as an orphanage in 1909, funding it with revenue from the famous candy company. Since then, the school has officially been dedicated to “the purpose of nurturing and educating children in need.” Because its founder gave MHS Trust a controlling interest in the Hershey Company, today it boasts a massive $8.5 billion in assets and also owns Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (operating hotels and an amusement park). In keeping...
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One September night in the western Pennsylvania borough of Monaca, a disillusioned resident told a labor canvasser that he’d once “backed all of the Democrats all the way through,” only to realize “both sides” were “really full of shit.” Then he said something I heard often during my week in the region: “If all these factories were still running here, we’d all still have jobs.”
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Josh Eidelson | The Nation 11 Oct 2012 Hits:762 Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG -- A judge has blocked the state from discounting ballots cast next month by voters who lack the photo identification required under the new voter ID law.
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Karen Langley | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 02 Oct 2012 Hits:717 Pennsylvania
A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday postponed the enforcement of the state's new strict voter ID requirement until after the November presidential election.
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Dan Froomkin | Huffington Post 02 Oct 2012 Hits:832 Pennsylvania
Commonwealth promises that this time they really, really mean it when they say every voter will be able to get ID.
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Ian Millhiser | Think Progress Justice 22 Sep 2012 Hits:1192 Pennsylvania
State Supreme Court sends decision back to lower court
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Posted every few miles on the river's banks were groups of protestors, challenging the governor's pro-drilling policy with signs and chants.
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On Wednesday, the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) and ACTION United entered a Court approved Settlement Agreement with the Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, Secretary of…
On Wednesday, in a closely watched case, a state judge in Pennsylvania declined to block the state’s controversial voter ID law from taking effect. If the ruling is upheld on…
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Full List of Legislators Who Have Cut Ties With ALEC