Making Democracy Work

News and Information

Recent News and Information

General Election Candidate Forums Planned for Public Benefit

Local League Organizing and Moderating Six Forums in October.

Upholding its long tradition, the League of Women Voters of Bucks County (LWVBC) has begun work on nonpartisan candidate forums ahead of the General Election on November 6. Six forums are currently planned in October for voters of Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional District, the 6th and 10th Pennsylvania State Senate Districts and the 143rd and 144th Pennsylvania House of Representatives Districts. Candidates running in those districts have received invitations and many have already committed to participate.

Judith Clarke, who recently stepped down after 15 years of coordinating candidate forums for LWVBC and who has moderated forums for 12 of those years, noted that "The League of Women Voters never supports nor opposes any candidate and insures that its' forums are conducted civilly. All candidates are given exactly the same questions and amount of time to present their positions on the issues so that voters are able to choose candidates they feel would best represent them." Trained League members living outside the legislative district in question moderate the League forums, adding another measure of impartiality. LWVBC member Connie Borichevsky, who has served as a moderator for more than fifteen years said, "Our candidate forums and debates are always nonpartisan. Questions are never given to candidates ahead of time and questions submitted by the audience are screened by League members for relevance, duplication and propriety." Other forum rules that encourage civility and nonpartisanship include requiring the audience to refrain from applause and outbursts and not allowing campaign or partisan material, posters, etc. to be displayed during the forum. Videotaping by the audience is not allowed, to reduce the risk of candidates' comments being taken out of context and misused.

Currently the LWVBC, one of more than 700 state and local leagues, is the second largest chapter in Pennsylvania. While working locally, the LWVBC is a chapter of the state and national League of Women Voters. Several members of the local League are headed to Chicago for the League of Women Voters' 53rd National Convention to be held June 28 to July 1. Men and women in Bucks County over the age of sixteen are welcome to join the League.

Bucks County 178th Legislative District

A special election to choose a new state representative for Bucks County's 178th Legislative District will be held May 15th, the same day as the primary election. Voters in the municipalities of Northampton, New Hope, Upper Makefield, Wrightstown and Solebury will decide who will finish out former state Rep. Scott Petri's remaining term for the rest of the year. All registered voters in 178th Legislative District, including those unaffiliated with a party, are eligible to vote in this special election on May 15, 2018. Helen Tai (D) and Wendi Thomas (R) will participate in a nonpartisan candidates' forum moderated by the League of Women Voters of Bucks County on Wednesday, May 2 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Anchor Presbyterian Church, 980 Durham Road (Rt. 413) in Wrightstown. The audience will have an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates. These candidates will also appear on the ballots of voters in the 178th District as Primary Election candidates running for the opportunity to compete in November to fill the 2019-2020 Legislative term. Voters who, because of health or travel, can not get to the polls on May 15 may request an absentee ballot before May 8. An absentee ballot application can be requested by calling the Board of Elections (215-348-6154) or visiting Votes PA Ballots must be returned to the Bucks County courthouse by 5 PM on May11. Postmarks do not apply. If hand delivering, only the actual voter may return their ballot.

Please contact the League with any questions about this forum at (215) 230-9986 or email lwvbuckspa@gmail.com.

Candidate Forums at Bucks County Community College

For details on the Congressional debates please see The BCCC News Release

You can find coverage and watch the debate scheduled for tomorrow at 12:15 pm On Facebook from WBCB, on the WBCBNews website, and at Bucks County Courier Times

Board of Elections Unanimously Relocates Three Voting Districts in Advance of May 15, 2018 General Primary

The Bucks County Board of Elections met and reorganized on Tuesday, April 10 in the Commissioners' Meeting Room of the Administration Building. The 2018 Board of Elections will consist of Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW (who remained Chair), Commissioner Charles H. Martin (Vice Chair) and Commissioner Robert G. Loughery. During the meeting, the Board unanimously approved three permanent polling place relocations. See the Board Elections website

LWV of Bucks County Volunteers shine during national volunteer week

This week, the League of Women Voters of Bucks County is saluting its members and supporters as part of National Volunteer Week, an annual celebration to honor individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action on a variety of issues in their communities.

"Our League members in Bucks County are some of the most dedicated and committed individuals I know," said League co-president Peggy Dator. "They give countless hours to serving Bucks County each year engaging in a myriad of tasks to help ensure that our community is healthy, vibrant and strong. Their work has led to freer and fairer elections as well as a deeper understanding of the issues that impact our community, Pennsylvania and the nation."

The League is full of wonderful volunteers; volunteers who dedicate themselves to monitoring our government and making sure Bucks County voters have access to as much information as possible. One such dedicated volunteer is Sandra Karlberg. She has helped with production of the Voters Guide since 2008, coordinating the many League volunteers who put countless hours into preparing Guides for the public prior to the primary and general elections. Information is requested of all candidates. Candidate submitted biographies and questionnaire answers must then be typed and assembled; the finished product posted two weeks before the election "Voter participation increases when information about candidates is readily available," said League co-president Jan Hendershot, "With the help of many volunteers like Sandra, we are able to continue this service for Bucks County voters."

As a powerful national network that includes more than 750 state and local chapters across 50 states, the League of Women Voters empowers people every day to tackle the most important issues facing our communities and to improve local, state and federal government. "We could not have the impact that we do at the local, state and national levels without the hard work of our volunteers. I am extremely grateful for the efforts of our dedicated local volunteers and would welcome other members of the community to join us," added co-president Peggy Dator.

Membership in the League is open anyone age 16 and older. For more information about the League (including how to join) and to view the Primary Election Voters Guide, visit http://www.lwvbucks.org. The League's next event will be held on Wednesday, May 2nd

Environmental Expo

Five speakers who have numerous affiliations with international, regional and local environmental organizations will participate in the May 5th Environmental Expo organized by the League of Women Voters of Bucks County. Their presentations at the Middletown Township Building, 3 Municipal Way in Langhorne, will begin at 10:30 AM. The public is invited to learn about concerns and work being done on matters including the Superfund sites in Bucks County, PFOA, hazardous waste treatment facilities, threats to the air quality as well as threats to the Delaware River.

The program runs from 10:30 AM until noon, and ample time will be allowed for the public to ask questions of the speakers. Following a brief question and answer period, attendees can visit tables staffed by the speakers and gather information about local environmental issues and advocacy work being done on issues of concern.

Russ Zerbo, Advocacy Coordinator for the Clean Air Council, will represent this organization founded over fifty years ago. Lise Baxter of POWA-Protect Our Water & Air will share the experiences and continued work by this group of citizens who are fighting the location of a hazardous waste plant by Elcon in lower Bucks County. Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, will discuss the work now in its thirtieth year, of making the Delaware River and its tributary streams free-flowing, clean and healthy. Dave Meiser of Bucks Environmental Action (BEA) and Sierra Club will address the multiple contaminated sites across Bucks County. Water contamination by firefighting foam used at the Johnsville and Willow Grove Naval Air Stations will be the subject of Donna Elms' presentation. Elms is a member of the Warminster Environmental Advisory Council, the BEA, and Penn Environment.

Based on studies and consensus meetings of the now more than 700 local League chapters, state and the national League of Women Voters arrived at the following position on natural resources. The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that natural resources should be managed as interrelated parts of life-supporting ecosystems. Resources should be conserved and protected to assure their future availability. Pollution of these resources should be controlled in order to preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of ecosystems and to protect public health. League of Women Voters' complete position is available here - Impact on Issues 2016-2018 Natural Resources.

The public is invited to this free Environmental Expo on Saturday, May 5th to learn about the current state of our environment.

ABC of Civics

People were educated, entertained and challenged by the ABC's of Civics program. American history, geography, symbols, our Constitution and more were discussed and how we become more civic minded and engaged were take-aways from the program.

The program will be offered again on Wed. March 28 at 6:30 PM at Warminster Township Free Library, in conjunction with the library.

People interested in having the program presented to organizations they belong to are encouraged to contact the League at 215-230-9986 or lwvbuckspa@gmail.com

Get Out The Vote (GOTV) 2018 Tool Kits

The Bucks County League of Women Voters is a member of a coalition of Bucks County Organizations working to assist organizations in providing their constituencies with the information to become registered and informed voters.

Two new 2018 toolkits have been developed - one for non-profits and another for schools.

LWV 98th Anniversary

[Doylestown, PA] On February 14, the League of Women Voters will mark its 98th anniversary. The League of Women Voters of Bucks County joins their nearly 800 fellow local and state leagues in honoring this milestone.

"Ninety-eight years after the League's founding, members of the League in Bucks County are proud of the great progress it has made empowering voters and defending our democracy," said Peggy Dator and Jan Hendershot, co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Bucks County. "The League in Bucks County has promoted civic engagement in countless ways, including voter registration, voter education and facilitating and moderating candidate forums for local and state offices.

Today's barriers to the ballot certainly look different than they did when the League was founded nearly a century ago, but they remain threats to the political franchise at all levels of our government all the same," Hendershot said. "Our efforts to protect the power of the vote continue today with advocacy and education about nonpartisan, independent redistricting processes and advocacy for voting machines that are secure and accurate."

"We continue, as we have for decades, to provide educational opportunities for our members and the public in Bucks County to learn about issues that affect us as a county and a state," Dator said. "Natural resources, education, child health and welfare, voting rights, fiscal policy and criminal justice are just some of the issues we have engaged with. Meanwhile, the national League has played widely acclaimed roles in nationwide efforts, including the creation of the United Nations and the protection of our civil liberties from the 1950s on.

"As we look to a vibrant future, we're excited by the fact that we are seeing growth in our membership and that our dedicated members in Bucks County are energized and excited about expanding our efforts into the future" said Dator. "Together, we will continue to fight for the individual voter and ensure that our elections are fair, free and accessible. The League's historic commitment to register, educate and mobilize voters is not only stronger, but more effective than ever, utilizing such tools as VOTE411.org, a cutting-edge election information website utilized by millions of voters each election cycle."

"Today, as we mark the League's 98th anniversary, and see our 100th birthday quickly approaching, we celebrate our many accomplishments," concluded Hendershot. "League members throughout Bucks County are as committed as ever to work for a free, fair and accessible system for all eligible voters; continuing the campaign to make democracy work."

2018 Legislative Guide is Available

The League of Women Voters of Bucks County's 2018 Legislative Guide is now available via download, at various libraries and at our various events.

A special thanks to the First National Bank & Trust Company of Newtown for again donating the printing costs for this publication.

"What Makes Democracy Work?" theme of this year's High School Video Contest

The fourth annual High School Video Contest sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania begins on January 15, 2018. The contest is open to any team of students or individual student between 13 and 19 years of age and currently enrolled in a public or private high school or home schooled in Pennsylvania.

Contestants will create 30 second video Public Service Announcements that answer the question "What makes democracy work?" and that invite participation in every election and encourage attention to local, less-publicized races.

There are no limits to the number of students on a team, nor the number of teams that may enter per school

The top prize will be $1,000. Contest submissions must be uploaded to YouTube and forms received by email before midnight, March 1, 2018.

More information about the contest, as well as access to past winning videos, is available at the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania website http://www.palwv.org/events/videocontest/ .

Questions can be addressed to videocontest@palwv.org

Fair Districts PA

The PALWV has initiated a project with other organizations to promote the passing of legislation to reduce gerrymandering in the drawing of Pennsylvania legislative and congressional districts. Please consider getting involved.

Information can be found on their website and their Facebook page.

There is also a local Bucks County group already formed. Follow their activities on their Facebook page

Women Incarcerated

The February meeting for the LWVBC will address the issue of Women Incarcerated in our prison system and the particular problems faced by women in this system. Issues our guest speakers will discuss include housing conditions in prisons, healthcare, overcrowding, sentencing, opioids as a main driver to incarceration. They will also address the programs available to inmates such as education, rehabilitation, outside volunteer programs and preparation for re-entry.

One of the speakers, Cheryl Peterson-Jacquez, was once an inmate but now helps other women who struggle with addiction and re-entry.

When she tried that first line of cocaine, at the age of 42, she was married, a mother of two sons, and was employed as an accountant. After a while she started selling crack cocaine to fund her habit, she was arrested for possession for intent to deliver and received a 3 to 6 year state prison sentence.

After serving 2 years in prison, Peterson-Jacquez was selected as one of 2 females to start a work release program for state female inmates . Not only did Peterson-Jacquez "learn her lesson" while incarcerated she also witnessed first hand the number of women who received very little support, are under educated and have experienced various forms of trauma. Many of these women have really struggled to remain in recovery or to stay out of prison. After 9 years in sobriety she found herself with a heartfelt experience -driven desire to help women in addiction and/or in prison who are struggling to recover or stay out of prison.

Approximately 8 months ago Peterson-Jacquez created and directs a mentoring program inside the York County Prison and within her community. To date, approximately 65 women have voluntarily participated in the program. There are plans to expand the program to an easily accessible location within her community in the very near future. The goal is to include free employment clothing and workshops, GED studies and tutoring, yoga, meditation, general computer skills, community service and art therapy.

Cheryl Peterson-Jacquez believes that the difference between relapse or re-offending and a successful future can come down to having one person who believes in you.

We anticipate several other speakers joining Ms. Peterson-Jacquez as well.

Voting in the Digital Age

The League of Women Voters of Bucks County and the Computer Science Area of Bucks County Community College will be hosting Voting in the Digital Age on Monday, October 23 at 12:30 pm at Bucks County Community College's Newtown campus.

Speakers include:

Andrew Appel
Andrew W. Appel, Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. He has been on the faculty at Princeton since 1986 and served as Department Chair from 2009-2015. His research is in software verification, computer security, programming languages and compilers, and technology policy. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in physics from Princeton in 1981, and his PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985.

In addition to teaching and research, Professor Appel produced a TEDx presentation in April 2016 entitled Internet Voting? Really? . He also testified before the House Subcommittee on Information Technology hearing on "Cybersecurity: Ensuring the Integrity of the Ballot Box" on September 28, 2016. Appel was invited to participate in a panel discussion, along with other computer scientists with expertise on election voting data security at the second meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in New Hampshire on September 12, 2017.

Marion Schneider
Marion K. Schneider,, Special Advisor to the Governor on Election Policy, will be speaking as well. She will address the recent Russian attacks in the 2016 election and steps necessary to protect America's elections. Schneider also is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy and Political Science at Penn State Harrisburg. Ms. Schneider served from 2015-2017 as Deputy Secretary for Elections and Administration, Department of State. In her role, Schneider oversaw and supported the following bureaus: Commission Elections and Legislation, Finance and Operations, Human Resources, and Management Information Systems.

Prior to joining the Commonwealth, Ms. Schneider was a Senior Attorney at Advancement Project, a national, non-partisan, non-profit civil rights and racial justice organization based in Washington, DC. She served as the lead attorney in Advancement Project's Voter Protection Program in Pennsylvania and Virginia working to remove barriers to voting for voters of color. Ms. Schneider has been working on election and voting rights issues since 2005.

This presentation will take place in the Gallagher Room of the Charles E. Rollins Center . There is no charge for admission however registration is required. Visit the College's website to register.

Former Six-Term Congressman Jim Greenwood Speaks from Past and Current Experience inside Washington about Gerrymandering

If you were unable to attend this event - some video clips of the event are available on You Tube.

The League of Women Voters of Bucks County and Fair Districts PA + Bucks are hosting Reclaim Our Democracy: A Discussion on Gerrymandering with former Congressman Jim Greenwood and Fair Districts PA Wednesday, September 20 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of Wesley Enhanced Living Doylestown, 200 Veterans Lane, Doylestown, PA.

This will be a rare and engaging opportunity to hear from one of Bucks County's respected elected officials on an issue which he and many consider to be one of the most crucial issues facing our government and democracy. Six-term GOP Congressman Jim Greenwood represented the 8th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005. Prior to his election to Congress, Greenwood served six years in the Pennsylvania General Assembly (1981-86) and six years in the Pennsylvania Senate (1987-1992). Greenwood is currently President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) in Washington, DC.

Former U.S. Representative Jim Greenwood (R-PA)
Congressman Greenwood will share his observations from experience about the impact gerrymandering has had on how government is conducted, including the impact of gerrymandering on voters, on elections, and on the community. Congressman Greenwood shares the opinion of many former and current legislators that ending gerrymandering is essential to preserve our democracy.

Greenwood will be joined by a representative of Fair Districts PA, a non-partisan volunteer organization working to pass an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution to end gerrymandering. Ardith Talbott of Fair Districts PA will explain the current status of the proposed constitutional amendment, how redistricting would be done under the new system, and the timeline of what legislators and citizens must do to pass the constitutional amendment before the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Seating is limited. Receive more event information and reminders by visiting Fair Districts . For information, call 215-230-9986 or contact donohkat2@gmail.com

Fair Districts PA + Bucks is one of dozens of local chapters that have organized across Pennsylvania to advocate and educate about the measures Fair Districts Pa supports in order to stop partisan gerrymandering in Pennsylvania by 2021. For more information, visit Fair Districts or facebook FD.

The League of Women Voters of Buck County is a non-partisan political organization dedicated to encouraging informed and active participation in government. Membership is open to men and women sixteen and older. For more information, call 215-230-9986 or email lwvbuckspa@gmail.com.

Union Edge Radio Partnership

The League of Women Voters US is excited to partner with The Union Edge, the only nationally-syndicated labor talk radio program in the country.

League leaders will participate in regular radio segments to discuss voting rights, public policy issues and advocacy.

"The League looks forward to reaching a diverse new audience of listeners across the country," said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. "The Labor community has a strong record in elections and we embrace the opportunity to have thoughtful discussions about issues that impact American voters."

The Union Edge is a 4 hour daily live radio program out of Pittsburgh, PA, syndicated on 33 stations nationwide, and available by webstream, mobile apps, and podcast. You can download the free app at http://www.theunionedge.com.

"We are excited to partner with the League of Women Voters for their strong commitment to voter engagement, voter protection and education," said Charles Showalter, host and founder of The Union Edge. "Union members are Democrats, Republicans and Independents; all should have the unimpeded chance to vote their conscience. As a non-partisan organization, the League always brings a fresh perspective on the critical issues facing working people across the country."

The League segments will start January 3rd and air every first and third Tuesday of the month at 1:30pm ET/ 10:30 am PT.