The Law Center represented the Committee of Seventy and several candidates for elected office, which on March 27, 2017, filed a lawsuit asking that the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas to replace Philadelphia’s City Commissioners with interim election officials for the May 2017 primary. Philadelphia 3.0 was also a petitioner in this case, represented by Lawrence Otter, Esq. The case was originally filed in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The Better Philadelphia Elections Coalition, a non-partisan coalition of voting rights groups, community advocates and civic leaders, called on City Council to create a new Department of Elections to replace the obsolete Office of the City Commissioners. The Coalition advocated for a Department led by an accredited director appointed by the Mayor with the consent of City Council, with oversight provided by an appointed, non-salaried, and bipartisan Philadelphia Board of Elections, also appointed by the Mayor and consented to by City Council. Philadelphia 3.0, Committee of Seventy and the Public Interest Law Center are all members of this coalition.
On September 11, 2017, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decided against the Law Center and its clients. Philadelphia 3.0 and Committee of Seventy vowed that the Campaign for Election Reform and Modernization would continue despite the Commonwealth Court decision.