From the Advocacy Committee
September 5, 2023
If you are reading this, you probably already know why it is important to vote in the “off year” elections in Pennsylvania. But it is critical that we convince all the people who historically do not turn out for these odd-number year elections to take the time to vote on Tuesday, November 7, 2023!
The even-number-year races – presidential, gubernatorial, United States Senate and Congressional races – get all the attention, and the local and judicial races get overlooked. Here are some suggestions for how to talk with your family, friends, and neighbors when they say they are not going to vote on November 7:
School Board elections matter because our public schools are under attack.
Many people choose Camp Hill because of its excellent school district. But voters should be aware that the national trend towards extremist, right wing activism targeting public schools has arrived here, too. Part of a much larger and longer-term attempt to weaken public schools to undermine principles of liberal democracy, these efforts include opposition to organized labor (teachers unions), free speech, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the secular tradition of public education.
One such group is Moms For Liberty, which was recently named an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). SPFC is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and legal work opposing white supremacist groups.
Moms For Liberty is a far-right organization that engages in anti-student inclusion activities and self-identifies as part of the modern “parental rights” movement. Based in Florida and launched by the wife of the chief of staff to Florida Governor and now presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, the group grew out of opposition to public health regulations for COVID-19. The group opposes racially inclusive school curriculum and has advocated for book bans. It is active throughout Cumberland County and even sent representatives to the spring school board candidate forum in Camp Hill.
It may be no coincidence that this year, there was an effort to remove a civics textbook from Camp Hill schools because it includes accurate content about the January 6, 2021, violent attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of former president Donald Trump. While this book ban attempt failed by a school board vote of 7 – 2, we need to make sure our school board
members understand and respect public education as well as the deep expertise of state education officials and our school personnel.
Similarly, the other local races on the ballot this year -- Borough Council, County Commissioner – also matter because these offices most impact the quality of our daily lives, and the future of our planet. Pennsylvania is a commonwealth, and prides itself on the fact that local government is our primary form of governance – we have 2,560 municipal governments, 500 school districts and 67 counties in PA. Our primary connection to government is local.
And remember, unlike the Pennsylvania primaries, the general election is open; any voter may vote for any candidate, regardless of party registration. Let’s GET OUT THE VOTE on November 7!