City Commissioner Candidate Carla Cain
What specific actions would you take to create and implement a strategic plan for improving Philadelphia elections and the voting experience that includes collaboration with various stakeholders inside and outside city government?
We will encourage the community to get involved. The whole process has to be inclusive. There will be no entity that I would ignore: local, state, Federal government, civic organizations. Ultimately, we would go directly to the voter. We would go to churches, clubs, civic organization, to Ward meetings when they have them. We will stress and encourage open wards. When someone goes to the polls, they should be welcomed and respected. If they have a disability, they're helped. If they don't speak English, there will be interpreters. The polling locations need to be reevaluated for overall functionality and accommodations.
What will you do to protect the integrity of city elections and build public trust in the process, safeguarding against fraud, intimidation, corruption and operational failures?
Like we have the ethics board as a group that oversees the financial integrity of the elections, we need to establish another entity that monitors, investigates and handles the complaints. Anyone involved in the voting process indirectly or directly, should sign a conduct form. The election boards should also a conduct form and be better trained in the legalities. There should be clear instructions on how to vote by write-in. People working for a candidate should know what they can and not do at a polling place.
How will you guarantee equal access and a smooth, high-quality voting experience for Philadelphia’s diverse electorate, including our disabled and limited English proficiency voters?
Pick polling locations that are handicap accessible, have accommodations for anyone with a disability, and access to interpreters. Members of the LGBTQ should feel comfortable about participating in voting.
How do you intend to recruit, prepare and retain poll workers to fill the more than 8,000 neighborhood Election Board positions citywide?
By law, these workers are supposed to be registered voters in the division they work and elected by their neighbors, which gives familiarity with the community they serve and a measure of trust. Community meetings should be held in advance of elections to explain the job and duties and importance of the positions and how to run for them.
How will you contribute to strategic, evidence-based and high-impact voter engagement and information efforts in the City of Philadelphia?
Using different communication channels for different demographic audiences based on their habits. For example, young people communicate through social media. Others still read newspapers. There's a significant digital divide in Philadelphia and the city is not wired for WiFi. We need to make voting as exciting and important as an event like Welcome America, which draws hundreds of thousands of people. City Commissioners should advertise and promote elections. There should never be an election that is called an "off-year" election. We would go into community centers/organizations in all neighborhoods.