FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patrick Christmas
Policy Program Manager
May 15, 2017
COMMITTEE OF SEVENTY ELECTION PROGRAM
SET FOR MAY 16 PRIMARY ELECTION
New Ballot Tool added to portfolio of election projects
PHILADELPHIA, PA – With polls opening Tuesday, May 16, the Committee of Seventy is urging voters who reliably turn out in off-year elections to lean on their friends, family and co-workers to vote tomorrow. A new Ballot Tool, powered by BallotReady’s CivicEngine, is the newest addition to Seventy’s longstanding and nonpartisan Election Program.
“If, on average, every voter was to persuade one additional person to vote, turnout would double,” said Seventy CEO David Thornburgh. “We challenge the super voters out there to take up the responsibility of getting their friends out to the polls. We’re piloting the Ballot Tool to provide an additional means for folks to get informed and to nudge their network into action.”
Seventy’s 2017 Election Program includes a number of new resources and projects added in recent years to help engage voters and improve the voting experience:
- NEW Ballot Tool: Seventy is running the new resource with BallotReady, a Chicago-based start-up that helps organizations inform voters about their entire ballot and create a plan to vote every election. As of the morning before Election Day, the platform had received 5,400 visitors who were spending an average of more than six minutes on the site. The tool can be linked to directly here: committeeof70.civicengine.com.
- Voter Experience Survey: Launched in November 2015, Seventy’s Voter Experience Survey is designed to collect data on what voters encounter when voting in person or by mail (via absentee or alternative ballot). The November 2016 survey garnered 1,700 responses, finding that long lines and inappropriate requests for voter ID, in particular, were common on Election Day. Seventy urges media to share the link for this weeks’ primary: www.surveymonkey.com/r/May2017VoterSurvey.
- May 2017 Election Guide: Seventy’s nonpartisan May 16, 2017 Election Guide is replete with descriptions of offices on the ballot, candidate bios and explanations of two ballot questions facing city voters. Seventy supports the ballot question regarding best value procurement, but has not taken on the second question that would create a volunteer Community Reinvestment Commission. Find out more about the May 16 election including the ballot questions here:
- Election Ambassadors and Innovation Challenge: More than 200 high school Election Ambassadors will be stationed outside polling places around Philadelphia to help answer voters’ questions about voting procedures and to administer a survey on election reforms. Area students are also invited to submit proposals to increase voter turnout, help inform voters about candidates or voter procedures, simplify the voting process or improve the voting experience. Proposals are DUE Friday, June 9. Find out more at: www.seventy.org.
- Voter Rights and Responsibilities: Seventy encourages voters to review their rights and responsibilities before heading to the polls on Tuesday. Voters can print a copy from Seventy’s website at: www.seventy.org/tools/elections-voting/voter-rights-and-responsibilities4. Questions or problems encountered during the voting process should be directed to the city’s main election hotline at 215-686-1590. The District Attorney’s Election Fraud Task Force will also have teams ready to dispatch on Election Day and can be reached at 215-686-9641.
Seventy’s staff will also be available throughout the day to help answer voters’ questions about the voting process and any component of the May 2017 Election Program.
“This organization has been working to improve the voting process, among other aspects of local government, for a long time,” said Thornburgh. “We’re excited about how the 2017 Election Program has come together and welcome feedback from voters and others on how the program can continue to evolve.”
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The Committee of Seventy is an independent nonprofit advocate for better politics and better government in Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information, see www.seventy.org.