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Please donate to ensure Allegheny County gets the best Voting Machines


e need your help to make sure Allegheny County gets the best voting machines.   OpenPittsburgh.Org worked during 2017 in consultation with cybersecurity and computer experts and with input from voting rights advocates to propose an ordinance that would create an expert Voting System Review Commission which would determine the best system for the County to acquire.   But the County Solicitor would not let County Council consider it.   So we appealed to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and Commonwealth Court.

The litigation required hiring a law firm to file the appeal, incurring the accompanying filing and attorney fees.   We have paid around $10,000 so far, but the remaining balance is roughly $33,000 which we need your help to pay.   Anything you can give will help ensure we obtain the best and most secure voting machines possible with voter verified paper-backed voting.   Please donate.

As an alternative, we have also prepared an ordinance to restructure the current Board of Elections as an independent Board of Elections and Registration which separates the oversight of elections from incumbent elected officials and requires some of its appointed members have expertise in computers, cybersecurity, and the needs of people with disabilities.   Half of the new Board would need to have experience as Judges of Elections to make sure a number of its members have prior hands on experience administering elections..   We will be collecting the signatures of 500+ registered Allegheny County voters in order to submit the proposal to County Council.

Open Government Amendment to the Pittsburgh City Charter


n 2016, OpenPittsburgh.Org managed to obtain enough signatures to place a comprehensive City Charter Amendment on the fall ballot after acquiring a federal injunction that enabled using professional canvassers to collect petition signatures.   However, the Mayor's Chief of Staff objected and sought to have the Amendment removed from the ballot.   Though the objections were filed well beyond the mandatory challenge period, nonetheless, Judge Joseph James rejected 70 years of case law and allowed the objections to stand, then withheld his ruling in the expedited case until over two weeks later, issuing it just two days before the ballots were sent to the printer, making a successful appeal virtually impossible.

While being removed from the ballot was at first a huge disappointment, we quickly recognized it created a tremendous opportunity.   Despite the Mayor's statements of support for open government to the contrary, we could clearly see we would be ill-advised to expect the administration to implement the Open Government Amendment effectively if it were ratified.   We can now revise the Amendment, splitting it into two referendum questions, the second being to establish a new, independent Open Government Office with a non-partisan elected director.   The new office would be responsible for implementing the City's new Open Government requirements; for establishing a citywide Citizen Advisory Panel; and for providing the support needed to ensure effective proactive public participation -- all of which in the Amendment's earlier versions was to have been the responsibility of the mayor.

You can get involved and help with drafting the final provisions for the new Open Government Office by contacting OpenPittsburgh.Org today.



hereas, Article 6, Community Advisory Boards was effectively rendered null and void on December 31, 2000, when City Council officially dissolved the Community Advisory Boards citywide; and

Whereas, the citizens of the City of Pittsburgh need and desire increased access to public records; to publicly available information concerning the City and their neighborhoods; and to information about what their government is planning to do, before it does it; and

Whereas, the people deserve a better opportunity to join and participate proactively in the decision making process of their community; to provide information and express their concerns to their public officials; and to more fully explain to their government what they want it to do; and

Whereas, the City has an obligation to provide those who may be affected by its actions with ample opportunity to have a say; the City needs a government structured to better ensure it works with and for all people and not just an elite few; and the City can benefit from having a dedicated body for citizen involvement which can provide an enhanced conduit for communication between the people and their government; and

Whereas, in the time since the City Charter was first drafted and enacted in 1974, technological advances now enable opportunities for enhanced public access to records and information; for more meaningful and effective involvement in monitoring and reviewing government actions; and for more productively providing comment and information to the government, in ways unimagined four decades ago; now


herefore, Article 6, Community Advisory Boards is repealed in its entirety and is replaced with Article 6, Open Government, moving Section 810 of the Charter to become Section 601 and adding Sections 602-621; and

Further, Article 1, Home Rule Powers - Definitions is amended to add definitions applicable to the amended Article 6; and Article 3, Legislative Branch, Sections 318 and 320 are amended to provide corrections and clarifications relevant to Article 6, as amended: