Democracy in America
Since May 2021, the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh and the Denis Theatre Foundation have been 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 began with a soft opening focused on local politics, addressing the Mt. Lebanon School Board primary in May 2021. It picked back up in September 2021, addressing the issue of voting rights, and will continue 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.
More programs coming soon! Check out the Recorded Programs tab to view past programs.
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.
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 Online:
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 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:
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:
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 :
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
The Year of Redistricting
2022 is the 10th year of the redistricting cycle in Pennsylvania. Every 10 years Congressional and State voting districts are drawn following each US Census.
The redistricting cycle’s coincidence with the U.S. Census cycle is intended to ensure that voting is reflective of regional population changes. This is an essential action that maintains fair elections.
To find out more about how redistricting works by visiting the Fair District and Ballotpedia.
To find out more about how the new redistricting map is progressing as well as the preliminary plan we recommend visiting the State of Pennsylvania’s webpage on redistricting.
“The 2021 Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission, on December 16, 2021, approved a Preliminary Reapportionment Plan for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Pennsylvania Senate, in accordance with Pennsylvania Constitution, Article II, Section 17(c). The Commission has filed the Preliminary Plan with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and the Preliminary Plan is available on the Commission's website.”
New Developments since December 2021:
Following the December 16th, 2021 preliminary plan House Bill 2207 was proposed.
House Bill 2207:
In response to the Preliminary plan a Joint Resolution proposing integrated amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, further providing for Legislative Reapportionment Commission and providing for the Citizens' Legislative Reapportionment Commission was made in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. To find out more about House Bill 2207 we recommend reviewing the resolution and its history on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s website.
To find out why Fair Districts PA and the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania oppose this resolution we recommend reviewing their public statements and supplied information:
Fair Districts PA Opposition to House Bill 2207
League of Women Voters of Opposition to HB2207 on the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh website
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
Vote 411-Everything you need to know about voting.