GENERAL MEETING MINUTES
Wednesday, November 1, 2018, 7-8:30pm
Nikil opened the meeting at 7:04pm and explained the this meeting was concentrated entirely on Election Day preparations and clarifying the role of committee people on Election Day. He asked everyone to hold their questions until the end of his remarks.
Nikil then explained that the primary responsibility of committee people on Election Day was turn out the vote by canvassing their neighborhood and stand outside the polls to distribute sample ballots. He acknowledged that we also have a role in ensuring that the election proceeds smoothly at each of our polling locations. He cited the excellent work that Amanda Feifer O’Brien has been doing in making sure that our polling places are fully staffed and said that he or she would be in touch over the next few days with specific people to discuss remaining vacancies in their Election Boards and review the process for “curbside elections” on Election Day morning.
Nikil has procured Poll Watcher certificates for all committee people that were distributed at this meeting. He reminded everyone of what activities merit a call to the District Attorney’s Election Fraud Task Force, including: electioneering; poll workers adding votes or other irregularities between the tally and the count in the book; poll workers walking into the booth with voters; and any other sort of intimidation of voters. He also explained that the Poll Watcher’s certificate grants us the right to examine the Election Clerk’s yellow book, which can help target our canvassing efforts towards neighbors who have not yet voted.
Nikil directed everyone’s attention to their Election Day Cheatsheets which include key contact numbers for Election Day including a Ward Point-of-Contact (POC) for them to call for assistance. He encouraged everyone to share their Election Day plan and availability with their POC so that the Ward leadership can maintain a master schedule and direct volunteers to neighborhoods or polling places where we need additional coverage. He cited two key moments at which one or both committee people from each Division should be present at their polling places — prior to the polls opening at 7am to be sure they are set up and staffed, and at the close of polls at 8pm for voting tabulation and to collect their EVM receipts. At the end of the day, the Election Judge in each Division is responsible for returning the Elections Materials Box to the County Board of Elections. Nikil explained that we are not collecting these boxes but can provide assistance to the Judge in the form of arranging a ride as necessary. Amanda Feifer O’Brien clarified that the Judge is able to delegate someone else to deliver the box if they inform the County Board of Elections.
Nikil closed by inviting everyone to an election results party at Elizabeth Fiedler’s (candidate for State Representative in the 184th District) campaign office at 1537 S 6th Street.
Ben Block asked whether the volunteers we have to provide rides to the polls are able to transport someone with mobility impairments. Colleen Puckett offered that she had a volunteer who was likely able to do this.
Mark Kasten asked what the plan was for providing food for poll workers. The original plan was for committee people to provide coffee/breakfast using “street money” funds and that the Ward would coordinate delivery of hoagie trays at lunchtime. There was significant pushback on this strategy as it doesn’t allow for consideration of poll workers’ preferences, so the new plan was for committee people to inform George Donnelly and Dermot Delude-Dix whether they would like a hoagie tray delivery or a $40 lunch allowance for them to purchase food on their own. Committee people also needed to inform George and Dermot of whether they were accepting their $75 “street money” allowance. George and Dermot were available at the close of the meeting to record this information.
Sara Jennings gave a short presentation on our GOTV plan over the final weekend and through Election Day. All remaining canvasses will launch from her house at 248 Catherine Street. Walklists are now targeted to people who have identified themselves as definite or likely Wolf voters or who were undecided the last time we spoke with them. The canvass script focuses on getting people to articulate their Election Day voting plan. Sample ballots are available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese and will be included with canvassing materials over the weekend and on Election Day. Akiva Rubin informed everyone that the website also has sample ballots that are in a mobile friendly format at https://phila2ndward.org/sample-ballots/.
Ali Perelman asked about Poll Watcher’s access to the Clerk’s book and how this can be used to identify people who have not yet voted to better target our Election Day canvassing. Significant discussion ensued during which people shared their anecdotal accounts of tense interactions with Election Judges on Primary Day. Denise Eddis weighed in as an Election Judge and explained the last election in May was the first time many poll workers had been asked to give Poll Watchers access to the Clerk’s book and that she anticipated less resistance this election now that more people are familiar with the rule.
Nikil closed the formal meeting at 8:02 and recommended that everyone spend a few minutes meeting with the other committee people who would be at their polling places to share schedules and work out a plan for canvassing their neighborhoods and providing coverage at the polling locations.