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GENERAL MEETING MINUTES
Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 7-8:30pm

 

Nikil opened the meeting at 7:05pm.

Committee people were asked to review Minutes from the previous two meetings (10/10/18 and 11/1/18). A motion was made and seconded to approve them and they were approved at 7:15pm.

Nikil recognized the excellent work done by committee people throughout the Ward in driving voter turnout in the November General Election, noting that the 2nd Ward was the only Ward in the city to make the Commissioner’s Top 12 lists of both most improved turnout and highest overall turnout. He also addressed a number of areas for improvement in Ward operations, including:

  • Distribution of Minutes from leadership meetings
  • Increased communication between heads of committees and Ward leadership
  • Improvements to our GOTV program:
    • More GOTV committee meetings
    • Possible access to VAN for all committee people (timing and logistics to be discussed further at the next GOTV committee meeting)
    • Renew attempt to coordinate with PA Dems (Nikil and others met with PA Dems multiple times last summer in an attempt to arrange this and mutually agreed not to this election cycle; this should have been more clearly communicated to all committee people and a topic for open discussion).
  • Improvements to Election Day support:
    • Compile a complete list of poll watchers a week or more before the election with input from committee people before obtaining Poll Watcher Certificates
    • Provide alphabetized lists of Democratic voters in each Division a week or more before the election.
    • Provide supplementary training for Boards of Elections and committee people (under development by Election Day committee).

Joan then facilitated an open discussion of other issues encountered while canvassing, on Election Day, and through general Ward governance. The discussion elicited the following:

  • General Ward governance:
    • A request was made for Minutes from leadership meetings that include what decisions are being considered.
    • A request was made for open leadership meetings.
  • Election Day:
    • Fleisher does not have an ADA entrance until the school opens at 9am, leaving mobility-impaired voters on their own for the first two hours of voting.
    • Given the rainy conditions on Election Day, many polling places were slippery and hazardous for heavy traffic.
    • Maxim Saigon was not opened early enough for voting machines to be set up on time and BoEs to be sworn in before 7am.
    • Palumbo’s BoE was very helpful and courteous with long-time residents and less helpful with neighborhood newcomers.
    • Various CPs ended up working most of the day with their BoEs if they were understaffed or otherwise couldn’t keep up with the work on their own. Amanda clarified that as CPs, we do not have the right or responsibility to help out in this way and have no corresponding legal protections if accused of tampering with the election. The safer option is to get sworn in as an Election official (and give up being a CP for the day) if the situation calls for it.
    • Many of the rules upheld by BoEs function more by habit than by book, which can be especially confusing in polling places that serve multiple Divisions where each Division may be operating slightly differently and there is no clear example of what is “right”.
    • We need a strategy for directing traffic in polling places that serve multiple Divisions. Suggestions include large laminated maps posted outside the polling place, color-matched balloons affixed to each voting machine, and aisle markers to separate lines. This is not technically our responsibility as CPs, but there is no other body that will take this on.
    • Maintaining a presence at your polling place all day was noted as being very useful in getting to know constituents, meeting new residents, and keeping an eye on the BoE.
  • GOTV:
    • Increased coordination with PA Dems would be helpful to avoid redundant canvassing efforts. We will never be able to eliminate other groups’ canvassing programs in the Ward but may be able to build relationships to work with them.
    • CPs who coordinated directly with PA Dems found their literature helpful but found it irritating to have to coordinate between two walklists that weren’t updated in tandem with each other and to have to drive to a remote location to get PA Dems materials.
    • It would be helpful to consult with other Wards on how and whether they were able to coordinate with PA Dems (notably the 5th and 18th).
    • Volunteers should not be sent to any Divisions without consulting that Division’s CPs.
    • Further discussion about VAN operation and logistics will be held at the next GOTV meeting.

***

Dermot provided the following Finance Report (12/12/18):

TOTAL RAISED $10,843
Small dollar donations (under $50) $1810
Individual contributions (over $50) $2633
Contributions from PACs (including Kenney, Sims, etc) $6400
TOTAL SPENT $5482
Food for poll workers $950
Translation (Vietnamese) $120
Printing $1863
Fundraising (events, promotion) $598
Street money $1875
Miscellaneous (check printing, etc) $76
CURRENT BALANCE $5361

For the next election, we plan to seek in-kind donations of food for poll workers; CPs in each Division can determine how this is best handled with their BoE. In General Elections, we may be able to save on printing costs by getting more campaign literature directly from the major campaigns.

Questions were raised about the purpose is of street money (there is an overlap between street money and the food budget for poll workers) and whether the expenditure of it is entirely up to our discretion. Dermot explained that the money comes from the city committee with the expectation of it being provided to CPs and their volunteers for the purpose of getting out the vote and making Election Day run smoothly. We do not need to account for individual expenditures and given the diversity of needs and expectations within our committee, it will continue to be offered for each election (CPs are of course welcome to donate it back to the Ward at their discretion).

Additional questions were asked about whether we would accept money from any source. This topic was tabled for further discussion around Ward operations in the primaries.

A final question was asked about how and when to develop a strategic plan for how much money we want to raise and where we want to direct it. Nikil said this was an important topic to address moving forward.

***

Lizzie Rothwell announced that next Communications committee meeting would be held the following Monday (12/17) at 6:30pm at OX Coffee. She also informed CPs that the website team is ready to build out pages for each Division and will be taking photographs of CPs at the January meeting to include on the website (anyone who prefers to provide their own photo is welcome to do so).

Chris Shelley asked that CPs consider supporting their local neighborhood applications to the OTIS Slow Zone program and potentially canvass their neighbors on the matter. Contact him at Chris for more information on the subject.

Honey Polis announced that she and Joan will be organizing a 2nd Ward potluck in early Jan and told everyone to watch for an email invitation.

The meeting was closed at 8:37pm.