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Please donate to ensure Allegheny County gets the best Voting Machines

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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

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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.

$20 for 2020

Please give $20 to get paper-backed voting for the 2020 presidential election

Litigation is expensive, but sometimes it is necessary such as when public officials don't want to comply with the law and are denying the citizenry of its rights as guaranteed by the Pennsylvania Constitution and Pennsylvania Election Code.   Both provide for the right of the electorate to "approve and direct the use of voting machines."   Since August, the Allegheny County administration has stifled a citizen effort to have an expert Commission review and assess the needs of the County for a safe and secure voting system which utilizes a human readable, voter verified, paper ballot or record for audit and recount purposes.

The initial filing, briefs, and court hearing in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has a remaining balance due of over $5000 which we are seeking to raise through our "$20 for 2020" fundraising campaign.   If you think it is important to replace the currently obsolete, insecure voting system in use in Allegheny County with a system that uses a more secure paper ballot or record as recommended by virtually all cybersecurity experts, then we hope you will consider making a donation now to help defray these unavoidable costs.   We must also raise money to cover expected appeals costs which are likely to run $30,000 or more.   This is not litigation that will be dragged out for years, so we must raise this money quickly.

Beyond the litigation costs, we are collecting 5000 signatures to place a referendum on the Spring Ballot.   The best petitioners expect to be compensated, for which we are seeking to raise an additional $15,000 to cover their costs.   Please help by making a small (or large) donation today.   As a grassroots, bottom-up effort, it relies upon the goodwill of people like you.

Thank you.