Crossfiling, or Why the Straight Democratic Ballot in November Will Have Republicans on It

If you don’t know about crossfiling, don’t feel bad. They didn’t teach this in high school history. But it explains why the Democratic ballot in this fall’s general election will have some Republicans on it (more on what to do about that later.)

What is crossfiling?

Under state law, only candidates for judgeships, district justice posts and school board seats can file nominating petitions to appear on the ballot for both the Democratic and Republican parties, according to the Pottstown Mercury. These positions are considered not political. Or at least, they weren’t in 1937 when the law was passed.

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Why You Should Knock On Doors

Did you know there are only about 700 more registered Republicans than Democrats in Horsham?

Did you know that in the school board election 4 years ago, it would only have taken 900 more votes for a Democrat to have won a seat?

So if you think a Democrat will never win in Horsham, it’s time to think again. In 2013, only about 1,600 Democrats went to the polls, compared with over 5,300 last year. For Jennifer Wilson to win in November, we need to get a good number of those who normally sit out off-year elections to the polls.

How do we do that? By KNOCKING ON DOORS!!

Even with the rise of social media, the best way to get people motivated and to the polls is by door-to-door canvassing. If you want to DO SOMETHING NOW to change politics, then COMMIT to at least 2 hours of door-to-door canvassing between now and the election.

Better still, sign up for 3 shifts.

We will train you, provide you with a script and campaign literature and give you a territory with a list of carefully screened voters. Those 900 missing votes? That’s 50 votes in each of Horsham’s 18 precincts. The best way to get those votes is for YOU to SIGN UP to canvass.

Better still, get 4 others to join you.

We can’t elect a new President until 2020, or send a new Representative to Congress until 2018, but we CAN elect a Democrat to the School Board in 2017. It’s time to channel some of your energy and outrage to direct action that will lead to change now.

What can you do RIGHT NOW?

SIGN UP to canvass, and attend our Day of Action, Saturday, July 15. Hear from local Democrats, meet other volunteers, get trained to canvass and hit the streets and speak to your neighbors about the need for change in Horsham, starting with Jennifer Wilson for School Board. If you won’t do what it takes to change things, who will?


Why Canvassing is Important and Why You Should Get Involved

My childhood pastor used to say the best way to convey an idea was to wrap it up in a person. Canvassing for a political candidate is similar, providing interaction and a human face to a process that most Americans regard with cynicism or ignore. That human touch may be even more crucial in local elections, which don’t draw the kind of news coverage that state and national elections do (and many municipalities no longer have a robust local newspaper). Can you name your local government officials? Do you know their political affiliations and platform? Would you recognize any of them if you ran into them in the grocery store?

This is just one reason for canvassing--educating the voters (yourself included). Canvassing also educates the candidates: According to the BBC, “Canvassing is still the best way of getting a feel for what people are thinking and talking about in a constituency so that you can fine tune your message."

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What Does the Horsham Democratic Committee Stand For?

The official mission, per this website, is that the Horsham Democratic Committee (HDC) is committed to helping to move our township, state, and country forward by supporting candidates who put the best interests of all Americans and our long-term future first and foremost. HDC works to:

  • Educate voters on candidates and issues to help them make informed decisions. Monthly meetings and this blog are part of that effort. HDC advocates for fair and responsible government that works in the best interests of all Horsham residents. We believe in transparency in policies, government spending, and in access to information.
  • Boost voter registration and participation rates. Every vote does count, especially in local races.
  • Support candidates’ outreach efforts to contact voters.
  • Recruit candidates for township and school board races. We’re proud to back Jennifer Wilson for school board. Get out and vote for her on Nov. 7. (If you need an absentee ballot, be sure to apply by Oct. 31. Click here.) 
  • At present, all members of township council and the Hatboro-Horsham School Board are Republicans, although nearly half the township’s voters are registered Democrats or independents. HDC believes that bipartisan representation is needed in every area of government in Horsham.
  • Participate in local meetings and events to ensure that our voices are heard. No one likes to pay taxes but they’re the cost of living in a civilized society; on the flip side, the institutions that spend our tax dollars should do so wisely. We also believe in respecting the rights of all Horsham citizens, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, or religion.

HDC also supports strong public schools; education is a key to opportunities and helping citizens improve their lives. Economic development also is crucial but must be tempered with environmental concerns. We want our township to be safe not only from crime but ecologically. The water contamination issue is an area where all citizens must have a voice.

To become involved with the Horsham Democratic Committee and help us meet these goals, please visit our web page and sign up to volunteer today.

 


Think Nationally, Act Locally

So, the current administration’s agenda horrifies you, but you’re not sure exactly how to fight it. Calling your representatives in Congress is crucial, but so is local political activism. Here’s why:

  • Many federal policies, including those related to the environment, healthcare, insurance, transportation, energy, and the workplace, are implemented by elected state officials, appointed state administrators, and local institutions.1 Do you know who those state and local officials are? Do they represent your viewpoints? For example, did you know that the Hatboro-Horsham school board and Horsham council have been all-Republican for years? 
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The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Gerrymandering

Update and Call to action: Gerrymandering means some people lose a voice in government. In March, Horsham council was presented with a resolution to support bills now in the state legislature (HB 722 and SB 22) to change the state constitution and establish an independent citizen commission for redistricting. At its June 14 meeting, the council heard a citizen presentation on gerrymandering but did not vote on the nonbinding resolution. State Rep. Todd Stephens also has not added his name as a cosponsor of the House bill.

Please contact Horsham council president Deborah Tustin (dtustin@horsham.org) and Township Manager William Walker (wwalker@horsham.org) and tell them you support the resolution in support of a citizen commission for legislative and congressional redistricting. Please also contact Todd Stephens (Tstephen@pahousegop.com) and urge him to join the nearly 70 House members who are cosponsoring HB 722.

 

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The ultimate guide to gerrymandering (or: why all politics really is local)

Gerrymandering has been around since 1812 but is a hot topic as the 2020 census approaches.

Why you should care:

• Gerrymandering is a manipulation of voting district borders to give one party an unfair advantage in elections. For instance, Republicans with the majority in a state legislature can draw the district lines in such a way that Democratic voters are split up and put in districts with overwhelming majorities of Republican voters. In future elections, Republicans can then win a larger percentage of the district seats than their percentage of the total votes, because each district individually has more Republicans.

• Horsham Township is split between two US House districts, the 7th and 13th (more on this shortly). PA 7, which rambles across 5 counties and is just 800 feet wide at one point, is one of the 10 most gerrymandered districts in the country.1

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