Political action is a cornerstone of Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh’s work. The goal of political action is to elect progressive candidates and protect voting rights. Electing progressive candidates by increasing voter turnout and removing potential barriers to voting is how we will create the change we want to see at the federal level.
We support congressional and senate candidates who are committed to building an equitable and just community. These efforts include phone banking,canvassing, fundraising, and promoting candidates on social media. At the end of the day, connecting directly with voters is the most effective means of getting out the vote - talk with people, garner their support, remind them when and where to vote, and if need be, help them get to their polling location. We also set up candidate forums so voters can listen to candidates hash out their views in real time in person, displaying their knowledge on community needs and desires.
Beyond elections, we engage with our federal, state, and local representatives through legislative visits. We also invite our representatives to our events. We are committed to building these relationships so we can continue to build our power and make a progressive agenda a reality.
We believe that everyone should be able to vote, unimpeded by bureaucracy. In Pennsylvania, gerrymandering is one tactic that diminishes the power of our votes. Over the past year, we have tracked and supported the work of Fair Districts PA - a nonpartisan effort to ensure that voters choose their representatives versus having representatives choose their voters (for both state- and federal-level seats). We continue to track the new congressional districts mandated by the PA Supreme Court that will go into effect for the upcoming 2018 election cycle.
In addition to gerrymandering, we are also engaged in educating ourselves about voter access concerns in Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on the intersection between voter access and race. With that focus in mind, we recently co-sponsored a voter access program with the Black Political Empowerment Project, our local ACLU chapter, Jason Kander’s Let America Vote, Repair the World, and the JCC.Voter discrimination policies overwhelmingly target progressive would-be voters. Given access, they have the potential to swing elections and change the course of history.