Bad things are afoot in PA. It's time to get informed and contact our PA senators and representatives. Let's share here, the way national politics cooperation has begun in Writing to Congress.

I find Politifact Pennsylvania useful.

 Let me know if you find a state level resource to assist activism. I haven't located a progressive daily guide to PA politics. I've had to depend on email alerts and looking up bills pending.

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Your vote counts! Or does it?

If you're eligible to vote, I keep hearing the good suggestion to keep checking your voter registration status, to be able to fix things if you're dropped from the rolls. Many states let you do this online.

(I was once dropped from the rolls, and had to vote with a provisional ballot that was probably not counted, the fall after I voted absentee rather than in person in a primary.)

In Pennsylvania, you can check with your county board of elections, or at the state government "PA Voter Services" site: https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/VoterRegistrationStatus.aspx

It also lets you (re)register to vote online.

The deadline in Pennsylvania to register to vote is October 9, to be able to vote in the November 6 election.

Vote NO tomorrow on the deceptive and dangerous "Marsy's Law"

California billionaire Henry T. Nicholas has been backing a dangerously overbroad "crime victims' rights amendment" in over a dozen states, with a goal of having it enacted nationwide as well as in an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

From ACLU-PA email: "Marsy's Law establishes rights for a victim of crime before the commonwealth has proven its case, turning the presumption of innocence into "guilty until proven innocent." It also allows the person who says they are the victim to deny information to a defendant that could establish their innocence or lessen their culpability. And the definition of "victim" in Marsy's Law is so broad that it could include corporations."

(And corporations could easily turn such constitutional provisions against whistleblowers, and against actual victims of corporate crimes and misdeeds, by claiming to be the "victims" and withholding, for example, surveillance video that shows unfavorable facts.)

From the PA League of Women Voters: "Marsy’s Law is premised on the notion that victims should have “equal rights” to defendants yet the U.S. Constitution and all 50 state constitutions guarantee defendants’ rights because they are rights against the state, not because defendants are valued more than victims and their families.  Defendants’ rights only apply when the state is attempting to deprive the accused – not the victim – of life, liberty, or property. They serve as essential checks against government abuse, preventing the government from arresting and imprisoning anyone, for any reason, at any time."

Pennsylvania already has laws supporting crime victims, specifically the Crime Victims Act of 1998. We don't need a deceptively described constitutional amendment that would erode the essential checks of due process for people accused but not convicted of crimes, and that would play into corporate power grabs.

Vote NO tomorrow on the deceptive and dangerous "Marsy's Law"

More: 

Issue: Marsy's Law Or "Crime Victims' Rights Amendment" (League of Women Voters of PA)

SB 1011 | MARSY'S LAW (ACLU Pennsylvania -- follow the links on the page for more information)

The bad news: the vote was 74% to 26% in favor of the amendment.

The good news: the vote "won't be counted" (hmmm...) or certified until courts determine whether or not the amendment is constitutional (perhaps including the issue of the amendment altering eight different sections of the state constitution, without allowing voters to consider each change separately as required by the Pa. Supreme Court).

A divided state Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler, who last week ruled partially in favor of the League of Women Voters and others who challenged the proposed amendment. Ceisler concluded Marsy’s Law would, if passed, have “immediate, profound, and in some instances, irreversible, consequences on the constitutional rights of the accused and in the criminal justice system.”

The decision represents the first time a state court has delayed the certification of votes to approve a constitutional amendment. Now, the legal battle turns to whether the law itself is constitutional.

("Marsy’s Law ballot question will appear in Pa., but state Supreme C...", Philadelphia Inquirer; use a private or incognito window, or clear cookies, to bypass free-article limits)

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