Pennsylvania – It’s Time to Vote -Primary Election Time

Time To Vote

About this time of year I tend to put on my hat as a former high school social studies teacher and wade into the fray. One reason might be that I think not enough information is disseminated regarding what is happening and the differences among candidates but another is just plain curiosity. As in so many areas of our life today we hear the ads but do not know the background. So, with today, that is Tuesday, May 15, 2018, being primary election day in Pennsylvania I wanted to share some unbiased information about what happens and why I strongly believe that those who should vote actually do vote. Here goes.

  • What is a primary election? Ok. You probably know this but, just in case, in a primary election in Pennsylvania Democrats chose who will be their candidates in the November, 2018 election and Republicans chose who will be their candidates in November. Note that I did not include Independents/No Party Affiliation. Pennsylvania has what is known as a closed primary. So, if you are not registered with a political party you are not able to vote in this election. By the way, this is a perfect time to check your voter registration, address and party affiliation. It may have been awhile and you might have forgotten to register or reregister. Even though you might not be able to vote in the primary, you could correct your registration and vote in the General Election in November. If you moved, if you want to change your party affiliation or if you never registered, this is a reminder to register or re-register before November.
  • Who are the candidates and what positions are they running for? Here are the announced candidates as of now:

Democrats:
Governor – Tom Wolf, Incumbent
Lieutenant Governor – A contested race. Kathi Cozzone, Chester County Pennsylvania Commissioner; John Fetterman, Mayor of Braddock PA; Nina Ahmad, Philadelphia, former Deputy Mayor; Ray Sosa, banker/insurance broker, Mike Stack, incumbent Lieutenant Governor. In fairness it should be noted Governor Wolf is not endorsing Mike Stack for Lieutenant Governor. In Pennsylvania’s current system, Governors and Lieutenant Governors run separately.

Republicans:
Governor – This is a contested race. Paul Mango, described as retired health care consultant, Scott Wagner, businessman, Penn Waste; Laura Ellsworth.
Lieutenant Governor – Also a contested race. Jeff Bartos. Kathleen Coder, Peg Luksik, Diana Vaughan.

Democrats:
U.S. Senate – Bob Casey, Jr. (unopposed)

Republicans:
U.S. Senate – Contested – Lou Barletta and Jim Christiana

After this, the best way to learn the candidates who are running locally is to consult the Voter Services website for your own District or County. In Chester County you can go onto https://www.chesco.org/2428/Sample-Ballots for a sample ballot. There will be a different ballot for Democrats and Republicans. See discussion above about closed primaries in Pennsylvania.

You need to scroll down to the specimen ballot for your township or borough and precinct or ward. Do not become discouraged. If you know what it is you can find it. Hint- West Chester Borough is at the end of the group of 229 pages.

For U.S. Congress in the 6th District currently now held by Ryan Costello, the Democratic Candidate is Chrissy Houlahan. The Republican Candidate is Greg McCauley. Representative Costello has decided not to run for an additional term.

For State Legislature in the 156th District, Carolyn Comitta, the incumbent, is running for reelection as Democrat. Republican candidate is Nicholas Deminski.

Both Democrats and Republicans have positions to fill for their representation in the State Committees that set policy for their parties. These positions are important. For Republicans, Paula Gowen and Michael Stoll are running. For Democratic representation in the State Democratic Committee there are 18 candidates for 8 positions so this is contested. Four men and four women need to be elected. More information can be found on the respective parties websites including local websites.

What is the final word? Obviously for background it would be necessary to consult the relevant websites including nonpartisan ones. You can find out about specific candidates by reviewing theirs. Also obviously I have my own opinions but I would like readers to arrive at their own and so I have restrained myself from doing so as, I guess, a former high school social studies teacher should. Good luck and vote! This year is especially important!

About the Author Janet Colliton

Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.

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