City Commissioner Candidate Moira Bohannon
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?
Within my three top goals for the office - outreach, training, and communication - I refuse to reinvent the wheel, but instead work with groups and use best practices from around the country, to improve the voting experience in Philadelphia. Using data and evidence-based practices, we can increase registration and turnout, as well as make Election Day run error-free and more smoothly for both election workers and voters.
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?
Transparency and communication are the cornerstone of integrity, and vital to weeding out corruption and fraud. If elected, I will hold more frequent public meetings, reaching more voters, and address issues in public. No longer will committee people and concerned citizens be told of major public hearings through Facebook groups. I will enforce a zero-tolerance policy for intimidation, discrimination and fraud. My bosses are the voters, and through consistent communication and outreach, we will ensure that Elections run error-free.
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?
Right now, only about 20% of polling locations are ADA compliant, and while there is a way to get a ballot in a different language, it is a confusing and not well advertised process. For both voters with disabilities and limited English proficiency voters, I would first start with an audit of current systems, to see what populations are being served and where the biggest deficiencies are. Working with experts and evidence-based data, we would make decisions to bring highquality voting to every Philadelphian, and efficiently communicate changes to the public.
How do you intend to recruit, prepare and retain poll workers to fill the more than 8,000 neighborhood Election Board positions citywide?
As a single mother, I have been unable to be a poll worker. A 14- or 15-hour shift with schools closed, and a stipend that would not match day care costs, the current system eliminates many willing participants from the start. Similar to job sharing in many companies, I would offer 2 7- hour shifts to pairs of potential workers so that the divisions are covered and more 2 Philadelphians could participate in the process. I would also audit the current burdens and shift workers from overfilled locations to poll places that are understaffed. Also similar to other employers, I will find the budget to offer a small referral reward to poll workers who recruit others, paid upon successful completion of Election Day work. With my project management experience, Election Day staffing will be a priority months before an election, with increased recruitment and training, so that Election Day runs more smoothly for every voter.
How will you contribute to strategic, evidence-based and high-impact voter engagement and information efforts in the City of Philadelphia?
Most Philadelphians do not know that the office of City Commissioner exists, or what is does. I find this one of the failures of the office. As Commissioner, I will engage voters and non-voters in the community year-round. There are already a number of groups reaching voters in Philadelphia, and could benefit from the data of the Commissioners’ Office, and the Commissioners could benefit from the community building already established from the voter engagement efforts.