Democracy in America
Beginning this May, the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh and the Denis Theatre Foundation will be collaborating to provide a non-partisan series of events on the theme of Democracy in America.
Periodically, often amidst crisis, Americans reconsider the status of their democratic institutions. Today is such a time, characterized by deep levels of polarization, distrust of government and most institutions, and the fraying of civil society, along with fear and uncertainty that leads to growing acceptance of the use of violence to achieve political ends. How can American citizens work together to strengthen our democratic institutions? In this series we will examine the roots of how the concept of democracy was established in United States and how it has been interpreted and challenged through the centuries, and reflect upon what core principles need to be sustained for its continuance. We hope to provide both local and national examples throughout the series, with ample opportunity for discussion and reflection.
The series will include a mix of local citizens and professional speakers, some with national name-recognition. It is designed to be accessible to people from middle school to our most senior citizens. We hope to engage people in dialogue, with questions and comments occurring at the end of each session.
The series begins with a soft opening focused on local politics, addressing the Mt. Lebanon School Board primary in May 2021. It picks back up in September, addressing the issue of voting rights, and then continues through the summer of 2022.
The Mt. Lebanon Public Library will maintain this webpage that will include information for upcoming events in the series, as well as for related local events and resources to support civic engagement. We will be sending out regular e-newsletters to promote upcoming events and new resources. Expect a good deal of communication with the lead-up to the May 18th primary elections.
Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts--PA Court of Common Pleas and Magisterial Elections Overview
Our Democracy in America Series, a collaborative nonpartisan program series sponsored by the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, League of Women Voters Pittsburgh and the Denis Theatre Foundation is partnering with Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, to provide an introduction to Pennsylvania's Court of Common Pleas and Magisterial Elections. This program will describe the impact justices elected to these offices have on the lives of Pennsylvanians as well as provide valuable information on evaluating justice candidates prior to the November elections. Representatives from Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts as well as a local county representative will work together to present this program.
Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts ("PMC"), a nonpartisan nonprofit, envisions a Pennsylvania judicial system in which everyone who participates is assured impartiality, fairness, accessibility and respect
PMC works tirelessly to educate all Pennsylvanians about our courts and how to navigate them with confidence, provide resources to make that possible for all residents of the Commonwealth, and advocate for judicial reforms that promote inclusion and access to justice. We engage in a wide variety of initiatives to accomplish these goals and are constantly developing new programming based on community feedback.-Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts
This is a virtual program. Registration with email is required. A Zoom link to the program will be sent to you at 6 PM the day of the program. Register here.
Braver Angels Collaboration:
SEPARATE Communication Skills Workshops for those “Leaning Red” and those “Leaning Blue.”
Two separate, free Braver Angels workshops held simultaneously on Monday, October 18, 7 – 9:00 pm BLUE WORKSHOP Communication Skills for Bridging the Political Divide Workshop (for Blue-Leaning Attendees) Mon, October 18, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT, on Zoom. Register here.
About this separate “blue-leaning” event: There's a lot of stress these days among family members and friends who are divided politically, and the current polarized public conversation doesn't help. This workshop is for blue-leaning folks (i.e, people who lean liberal or progressive philosophically or tend to vote for Democrats) who are interested in having better conversations with people on the other side of the political aisle. You will learn and practice skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship. See below for general information. Questions? Contact Lindy Ferriss at firstname.lastname@example.org
RED WORKSHOP Communication Skills for Bridging the Political Divide Workshop (for Red-Leaning Attendees) Mon, October 18, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT, on Zoom. Register here.
About this separate “red-leaning” event: There's a lot of stress these days among family members and friends who are divided politically, and the current polarized public conversation doesn't help. This workshop is for red-leaning folks (i.e, people who lean conservative philosophically or tend to vote for Republicans) who are interested in having better conversations with people on the other side of the political aisle. You will learn and practice skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship. See below for general information. Questions? Contact Lindy Ferriss at email@example.com General Information relative to both workshops: This free workshop does the following: • Provides knowledge about what it takes to have constructive, non-polarizing conversations between people who disagree politically • Gives you the chance to practice these skills to have these conversations • Motivates you to have these conversations with people in your social network This is a two-part workshop combining an online eLearning course and an online, interactive workshop offered over Zoom. 1. Part one consists of a 40 minute, interactive course. You complete this online before the workshop. 2. Part two is practicing what you've learned in a 90 minute, online workshop. You will practice the listening and speaking skills in a pair with someone of your own political persuasion.
Questions? Contact Lindy Ferriss at firstname.lastname@example.org Local Hosts Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) - Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) - Casa San Jose - Center for Loving Kindness of the JCC PGH - Christian Associates of Southwest PA - Emmanuel Reformed Church of the United Church of Christ, Export PA - Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh: Community Relations Council - League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVPGH) - Mt. Lebanon Public Library – Democracy in America Series - Social Justice Institutes at Carlow University (SJI) - YWCA Greater Pittsburgh
Legislative Reapportionment Commission Public Hearing
The Legislative Reapportionment Commission livestreams and archives their public hearings, to gather feedback from Pennsylvania citizens regarding legislative reapportionment. Please click on the link below to view archived and upcoming hearings.
Mt. Lebanon School Board Candidates Forum from May 4, 2021.
View recording here.
In a first-time collaboration, Mt. Lebanon Public Library is proud to announce a partnership with The Denis Theatre Foundation and the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh to host a nonpartisan forum for candidates running in the primary for Mt. Lebanon Board of School Director. Moderated by resident and political analyst Jon Delano and weaving in questions from the community, the co-sponsors see this as a unique civic service of voter education.
School districts across the country have faced numerous debates over the past generation that resonate in Mt. Lebanon. Among them:
- Funding and fiscal management
- Capital improvements
- Teacher contracts
- Student safety
- Community and parent input and transparency
- Curriculum and 21st century skills
- Student well-being and treatment of each other
- Inclusion and equity
- The use and role of technology
- Standardized testing
- Data-based decision-making
- And over the past year, decisions in response to the pandemic
Over the past two decades, Mt. Lebanon residents have witnessed moments of unity in response to these issues, but also periods of great discord and debate. This election reveals distinct approaches to school governance. Ten candidates seek one of the four open positions. Each candidate has been invited to participate.
Watch the Recording of the PA Supreme Court Candidates' Forum Here:
There are four judges running for one seat on the PA Supreme Court.
All four candidates participated, P. Kevin Brobson, Patricia A. McCullough, Maria McLaughlin, and Paula A. Patrick. This forum was co-sponsored by PMC, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, and the Free Library of Philadelphia. It was moderated by David Senoff, Founding Member of First Law Strategy Group, LLC.
- P. Kevin Brobson, PA Commonwealth Court President Judge
- Patricia A. McCullough, PA Commonwealth Court Judge
- Maria C. McLaughlin, PA Superior Court Judge
- Paula A. Patrick, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge
Learn more about the candidates here:
To use the League of Women Voters vote411.org voters guide simply enter your address then click “go to my races,” then select “Pennsylvania Judge of the Supreme Court.” You will be able to review and compare the candidates. You can also do this for all candidate races below.
Watch the Recording of the PA Superior Court Candidate Forum Here:
There are four judges running for one seat in the Superior Court (3 Democrats on the primary ballot, with the winner facing the lone Republican candidate in November)
During this forum, moderated by Marcel Pratt (Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP), all four of the candidates for Pennsylvania’s Superior Court answered questions about their experience and why they seek election to the Superior Court. The Candidates were Jill Beck, Timika Lane, Bryan Neft, and Megan Sullivan. Hosted by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with the following sponsors: the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, and Committee of 70.
- Jill Beck, Attorney
- Timika Lane, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge
- Bryan Neft, Attorney
- Megan Sullivan, Deputy Attorney General
Watch the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Courts Candidates Forum Here:
There are two open seats in the Commonwealth Court, with six candidates running for the positions (2 Republicans and 4 Democrats—the top winners from each party will go on to the November elections). 5 of 6 candidates participated in the forum.
Join us for the PA Commonwealth Court Candidates Forum with candidates: Lori A. Dumas, Amanda Green Hawkins, David L. Spurgeon, Sierra Thomas Street, Sorokes Wallace. (This includes only the candidates who have confirmed their participation in the forum. For a full list of candidates, please visit www.pmconline.org.) It will be moderated by Karl Myers of Stradley Ronon and hosted by PMC and the Dauphin County Library, in conjunction with the following sponsors: Allegheny County Bar Association, Committee of 70, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Philadelphia Bar Association.
- Judge J. Andrew Crompton
- Judge Lori A. Dumas
- Amanda Green Hawkins
- Judge David L. Spurgeon
- Judge Sierra Thomas Street
- Stacy Sorokes Wallace
Watch the Magistrate Forum- District 05-02-19-Mt Lebanon, Dormont Candidate Forum Here:
Five candidates are competing for one seat to replace a retiring incumbent in this district.
- Steven Diaz
- Lisa Borrelli Dorn
- Duane Fisher
- Gina Florez
- Hilary Wheatley Taylor
November 2nd Municipal Election day is fast approaching. We have put together some invaluable resources to facilitate your voting experience.
Important Voting Dates:
October 18, 2021 is the last day to register to vote or update your voter registration before the November 2, 2021 municipal election.
Launched by the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) in October of 2006, VOTE411.org is a "one-stop-shop" for election related information. It provides nonpartisan information to the public with both general and state-specific information on the following aspects of the election process. 411.org includes:
Explore Your Personalized Ballot and Candidate Information
Use the online voters’ guide to see the races and issues on your ballot. Compare candidates side-by-side and read their views on the important issues in their own words. Under the Vote411Voter Guide simply click on "Enter my address" then "Show My Races" to be view all the candidates that will appear on your ballot: https://www.vote411.org/ballot
Pennsylvania Department of State Polling Place Search Tool
Pennsylvania Department of State's Polling Place Search Tool will help you locate a polling place for Election day. Begin by typing the county of residence and city in the drop down menus below. Then enter the street name, the house number, and zip code.
If the polling place is not found, please make sure the information is correct. Click Search again. If the polling place is still not found, you may contact the county election office here.
September 28th is National Voter Registration Day:
The League of Women Voters of Pittsburgh's website has everything you need to make voting in November's election as easy as possible.
You access applications for registration and mail-in/absentee ballots as well as information regarding the candidates on the ballot. For a helpful quick reference check out the League's Get Ready to Vote card.
You can view an updated video Gallery for the 17 candidates for 10 seats in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas here.
To register to vote online, by mail or in person, please click here.
Important dates for voters from the LWV Pittsburgh website:
- NOW! The APPLICATION Process is Open to Register to Vote and to Apply for a Mail-in/Absentee Ballot.
- October 18, 2021, at 5:00 PM Last day to REGISTER TO VOTE or to UPDATE REGISTRATION before the MUNICIPAL ELECTION.
- October 26, 2021, at 5:00 PM Completed MAIL-IN BALLOT APPLICATIONS must be RECEIVED by the County Elections.(The postmark is not enough.).
- In September Mail-in/Absentee BALLOTS will be sent once candidates and ballot initiatives are finalized, and ballots are printed.
- November 2, 2021, at 8:00 PM Return BALLOTS must be RECEIVED by the County Elections Office. (The postmark is not enough.)
- November 2, 2021, MUNICIPAL ELECTION--POLLS OPEN at 7:00 AM - 8:00 P
Redistricting and Reapportionment in PA:
The Pennsylvania Redistricting website provides information about the redistricting process in Pennsylvania, including information about the Legislative Reapportionment Commission created by the state Constitution, access to the geography and population data used for redistricting, interactive maps, and more. All legislative Reapportionment Commission Public Hearings are livestreamed and archived on this site.
The League of Women Voters in Pennsylvania has been a strong and vocal advocate for redistricting reform for more than 3 decades.
Before the formation of Fair Districts PA, the LWV was working to eliminate partisan gerrymandering by:
- testifying at government hearings,
- lobbying for an amendment to the PA Constitution to create a nonpartisan redistricting board,
- campaigning on behalf of a transparent and fair redistricting process, and
- supporting litigation against unfair redistricting plans.
In January of 2016, LWVPA joined with Common Cause PA, Committee of Seventy, PA Council of Churches, and other good government reform organizations to form Fair Districts PA, a coalition dedicated to redistricting reform.
Please review their newly created infographic on Redistricting and Reapportionment in Pennsylvania by clicking on the link below:
To find out more about the League of Women Voters and Fair Districts PA, please click here.
Mail in and Absentee Ballot Application:
Vote 411-Everything you need to know about voting.