New Legislation Calling for Hearings on Election Reform is a Critical Step in Ensuring the Freedom to Vote for Philadelphians

PHILADELPHIA — All Voting is Local Pennsylvania State Director Scott Seeborg issued the following statement in response to the introduction of Resolution 210657, which calls for hearings on election reform, an important step forward for the Philadelphia City Council to ensure free, fair elections:

“We fully support Resolution 210657. With more than 150,000 Philadelphians speaking a language other than English at home, it is imperative that city officials make voting accessible to everyone. In addition, we support enhancing poll worker training and ensuring adequate resources for city commissioners to deploy the staff and support needed to meet voters where they are.

“Councilmember Isaiah Thomas and the resolution’s co-sponsors are right in leading the charge to create a pathway to expand access to the ballot for voters of all backgrounds in every part of the city. We applaud this first step and commend City Council for passing this resolution to give all Philadelphians the freedom to vote, regardless of who they are or the language they speak.

Background:

The city of Philadelphia currently provides election materials in only English, and Spanish as required under federal law. Citizens for Language Access, a coalition of immigrant led and civil rights organizations, has advocated for the inclusion of the top languages spoken in Philadelphia — Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Haitian, French, and Russian — in Philadelphia’s language capable voting machines since their purchase in 2019. On June 23, more than 55 civil rights and immigrant led organizations and civil rights advocates signed a letter urging Philadelphia to expand the languages that voting materials are available in.