I’m running for City Commissioner because I’ve worked on voting rights and election issues for the past 15 years, and want to put my knowledge and experience to work for the citizens of Philadelphia. As a congressional fellow, I worked on Capitol Hill and at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As a policy analyst at the Brennan Center for Justice, I advocated for redistricting reform, campaign finance reform, and the restoration of voting rights for individuals with felony convictions. As an attorney, I have spent thousands of hours training and leading hundreds of lawyers and law students in Election Protection programs through the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Simply put, voting rights are my passion, my expertise, and my life’s work.
If elected, I will work every day to do the following for the City of Philadelphia:
Restore integrity into the City Commissioners office: The Commissioners’ Office has been under attack for the failure of its leaders to stop sexual harassment, show up to work, and, even to vote, prompting some to call for the office to be abolished. I will work tirelessly to promote a culture of competence, hard work, and service in the office, and will appear before City Council following each election to ensure the City Commissioners are fully accountable to the public.
Protect Philadelphia’s elections: As in 2016, Donald Trump will publicly attack Philadelphia’s electoral integrity in 2020 in order to win re-election or to cast doubt on our political process. Philadelphia must have strong leadership in the Commissioners’ office, working closely with law enforcement, to ensure that no one is dissuaded or prevented from voting because of intimidation or misinformation.
Organize and support stakeholders in the fight for meaningful election reform: The City Commissioners should be leaders in advocating for common sense election reform, including no-fault absentee voting, early voting, and same-day voter registration. I will use my experience at the Brennan Center for Justice to push for changes to Pennsylvania’s Election Code that make voting easier and will support Philadelphians and other Pennsylvanians who are fighting for the same.
Educate the public on new voting technology: Philadelphia will be obtaining new voting machines by May 2020 that will allow for a voter-verified paper trail. Drawing on my years of experience training election day volunteers, I will design and implement effective training programs for poll workers and ensure that Philadelphians are familiar with and prepared to vote on our new voting machines in 2020.
Create a voting curriculum for Philadelphia schoolchildren: Philadelphia votes twice a year, and many of its elections are plagued by low voter turnout. In order to increase voter turnout, I will work with educators and my Office staff to devise a curriculum for middle and high school students to teach the importance of political participation, how to obtain information on candidates and elected officials, and the mechanics of voting.
Implement randomized ballot position for municipal races: Philadelphia voters often cast ballots for candidates about whom they have little or no information, leading them to, in effect, choose their elected officials at random. In addition to providing more information to the public about the candidates running for office, I will work to minimize the importance of ballot position and plain luck by employing multiple ballots across the city.