What to know about Pennsylvania’s Primary Election

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Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania is tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17. Here is some helpful information to assist you in heading to the polls.

Are you eligible to vote and an active voter? If you are not sure, you can now check this information online through a new statewide initiative called a SURE Public Portal. 

Upon logging on to www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us, you can immediately review your voter registration status, party affiliation and polling place. If your voter registration is showing an outdated name or address and you missed the deadline to make the necessary changes, by law you can return to your old polling place and vote for one election. While at the polling place, please ask the poll workers to provide the proper form to update your name and/or address for the next election.  Once the Voter Registration Office processes your request, you will be mailed a new registration card with your updated information and polling place location.

Did you vote by mail or receive an absentee ballot? The deadline for county elections boards to receive voted mail ballots is 8 p.m. May 17. Postmarks do not count.

Voters can also deliver their ballot in person to their county board of elections; check vote.pa.gov to determine if your county has any ballot drop-off locations and to find the hours for your county. 

Voters who received an absentee or mail-in ballot may vote in person on Election Day if they bring their unvoted mail ballot and envelopes with them to be voided. After they surrender their ballot packet and sign a declaration, they can then vote a regular ballot. Voters who requested a mail ballot and did not receive it or do not have it to surrender may vote by provisional ballot at their polling place. The provisional ballot will be reviewed by their county board of elections after Election Day to determine whether it will be counted. Voters who already voted and returned their mail ballot are not eligible to vote in person on Election Day.

When are the polls open? The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Must you show ID? Voters appearing at a polling place for the first time will need to show proper identification, which may be either photo or non-photo ID. There is no identification requirement for voters returning to vote at a polling place for the second or subsequent elections.

What if I need help voting? Voters are entitled to have assistance at the voting booth if they are unable to enter the booth or use the balloting system. The voter can choose who will provide the assistance, except for the voter’s employer, an agent of the employer, an officer or agent of the voter’s union or the precinct’s Judge of Elections.

Any questions concerning the election should be directed to the Voter Registration Office at 717)-261-3886 or the Franklin County Election Board at 717-261-3810.  You will also find additional election and voter registration information at the County’s website, www.franklincountypa.gov

For information on voting in Franklin County, you may watch an online demo and/or instructional video on voting a digital scan ballot using a DS200 Precinct Counter at www.vote.pa.gov.

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR RACE

We reached out to all 10 original candidates in the race for Pennsylvania governor, asking each candidate the same five questions and giving them 5 business days to respond (but accepted responses as late as two weeks later). Some candidates chose to answer the questions. Others opted to send different information. Some candidates failed to respond at all. The responses are published in alphabetical order exactly as we received them.

Lou Barletta (R)

No response

Jake Corman (R) (Editor’s note: Corman has since dropped out of the race)

No response

Joe Gale (R)

No response

Charlie Gerow (R)

No response

Melissa Hart (R) (Editor’s note: Hart has since dropped out of the race)

County of residence:  Allegheny

Age: 60

Family:  Aunt to Madeline, Theodore, Isabelle and Gabrielle, all in their early 20s, children of my Brother Don and his wife, Dawn Hart, also sister to my brother Terry and his wife Christine Hart.

LN: What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for Governor?

Hart: 10 years as a State Senator and chair of the Senate Finance Committee 1991-2001; 6 years as member of US House of Representatives 2001-2007; 15 years Lawyer in private practice with small law firm representing small business clients and community banks, 2008-present; 5 years Director, Enterprise Bank, a small business lender working directly with customers and regulators; local elected Republican Committeewoman, grass roots politics

LN: What do you believe are the top 2 issues facing Pennsylvanians that you will address, if elected?

Hart:

  1.  Excessive and costly bureaucracy preventing economic growth and advancement of citizens, communities and business in PA, state government has become an adversary instead of a partner to PA citizens.  I will revamp every licensing and permitting agency to focus on customer service, and assisting with compliance, not fines and a “gotcha” mentality.  State should support and assist health care, business and education and other enterprises to encourage people to invest in PA communities.  This includes focusing on exploration, development and delivery to market of our vast energy resources in PA, which have been hampered by the current administration.
  2. Education system which places itself ahead of students and parents, teaching inappropriate ideologies and failing to prepare the next generation for life with abilities like reading, writing, speaking, mathematics, basic science, life skills, financial responsibility.  Tech schools Must be improved to train students with skills for current jobs. Charter schools, public to public as well as private school choice and homeschooling must be supported by the state as each child has different needs in order to succeed and learn.

LN: Lots of candidates make promises of what they believe they will do, but what is your plan to actually accomplish what you say you will do?

Hart: I am a coalition builder as I won 6 elections as a conservative Republican in Democrat- registered districts.  I will work with the legislature on a pro-freedom, pro-energy, and pro-growth agenda so we can pass  legislation to improve our economic strength and cut taxes like inheritance and business taxes which hamper families and their ongoing success.

My record of legislative success in the PA Senate and in DC resulted from tat ability to work with colleagues and build support for constructive initiatives.  My successful legislation includes inheritance tax cuts, computer tax repeal, education and training programs for education for those dependent on government assistance, and also for DV victims dependent on abuser, successful brownfield redevelopment plan to encourage redevelopment of closed factories to save small towns, the safe haven law for moms to save their unwanted babies from abandonment/death, laws to protect the unborn from crime by charging the perpetrator of a violent act with battery or murder of an unbprn child when perp assaults mon causing injury or death, sponsored tax-free education savings accounts for people to save more for education and many bills to improve communities and opportunities for people and their success.

This background also makes me the most likely Republican to win election in the fall.

LN: Our country is full of negativity and division. What will you do to bring Pennsylvanians together?

Hart: Work with people in their communities to solve the real problems they face such as opioids and oher scourges that know no economic barriers or partisan ones. The economic and education issues discussed above also cross economic and partisan lines.  Pennsylvania is at a crossroads and we must support opportunity and growth or our children will not have a future here.

LN: Why should Pennsylvanians vote for you?

Hart: As a candidate in the fall, I  have the right balance of successfully leading as a conservative in government on both the staten federal levels, along with real business experience during my last 15 years in the private sector. I bring proven electability in districts that are majority Democratic as a Republican who can win and govern successfully in still-majority-Democratic PA. I care about the future, am running for Governor to refocus our state policy on encouraging people instead of beating them down.  We have seen for too much overregulation and government control that is unreasonable and limits opportunity.

Doug Mastriano (R)

No response despite multiple attempts

Bill McSwain (R)

No response

Josh Shapiro (D)

Age: 48

County of residence: Montgomery County

Family: Lori’s husband, and Sophia, Jonah, Max and Reuben’s dad. Pets: Bentley and Bo

LN: What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for Governor?

Shapiro: Throughout my career, I’ve taken on the big fights and delivered real results for Pennsylvanians in all 67 counties. I’ve listened to survivors who were abused by Catholic priests and uncovered decades of sexual abuse and coverups in the Catholic Church. I’ve met with workers who have been ripped off by wealthy corporations and have had their backs inside and outside the courtroom. And I’ve held the drug companies accountable for their role in the opioid crisis, and protected access to health care for nearly 2 million people in Western Pennsylvania. I am proud of the work we’ve done to protect Pennsylvanians and their rights, and I will always hold those in power accountable when they try to screw over Pennsylvanians. That’s why I’m running to be the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – because Pennsylvanians need a Governor who will have their backs and make progress on the issues that matter most, like cutting costs and growing our economy, ensuring every child receives a quality education, making our communities safer, and ensuring Pennsylvanians just don’t get screwed. I’ll be a Governor Pennsylvanians can count on.

LN: What do you believe are the top 2 issues facing Pennsylvanians that you will address, if elected?

Shapiro: As Governor, my top priorities are creating opportunity for Pennsylvania children by improving our education system, building a stronger economy by creating jobs, cutting taxes and lowering costs, and making our communities safer all across the Commonwealth. In order to move Pennsylvania forward and build a better future for our children, we must work together to achieve these key priorities. A strong economy, good schools, and safe communities are the pillars of my vision for Pennsylvania – and making this our reality will guide everything I do as Governor. I believe there is far more that unites us than divides us – and when it comes to protecting our communities and building a Commonwealth that is the best place for businesses and families to thrive, I’ll work with anybody to get it done.

LN: Lots of candidates make promises of what they believe they will do, but what is your plan to actually accomplish what you say you will do?

Shapiro: Pennsylvanians are facing some serious challenges right now, and people are worried. I hear it across the Commonwealth – families are being crushed under a mountain of rising prices, our roads and bridges are crumbling, and people are worried about unprecedented attacks on voting rights, workers’ rights, and the right to choose. That’s why I’m running for Governor, because Pennsylvanians deserve a leader who has a track record of bringing people to get things done and a real plan to tackle the biggest issues facing our Commonwealth. they can enact the minute they are sworn into office. Since launching my campaign, I’ve released detailed policy plans to lower costs and cut taxes, improve our education system, and invest in our workforce. Throughout my career, I’ve shown that I can bring people together to get things done – from protecting access to health care for nearly 2 million people in Western Pennsylvania to bringing law enforcement leaders and the Legislative Black Caucus together to create a statewide database for police misconduct. I will break the partisan fever that’s gripped Harrisburg for too long and get real things done for Pennsylvanians.

LN: Our country is full of negativity and division. What will you do to bring Pennsylvanians together?

Shapiro: Right now, our politics seem broken and divided, but we can’t just take our ball and go home. There is too much on the line, and I know there is so much more that unites us than divides us. Throughout my career – and every day as Attorney General – I have worked hard to bring people together, solve problems, and get things done for Pennsylvania. I have a long track record of doing that successfully, from bringing the Legislative Black Caucus and law enforcement to the table to create the first statewide database for police misconduct, to brokering a deal with UPMC and Highmark to protect health care for 1.9 million people in Western Pennsylvania. As Governor, I will continue working to bring people together so that we can solve our biggest problems – because that’s how we will deliver results for people across our Commonwealth and move Pennsylvania forward.

LN: Why should Pennsylvanians vote for you?

Shapiro: I grew up in Pennsylvania, watching my parents serve their community – my father working as a pediatrician, and my mother as an educator. I witnessed first-hand how they cared for our neighbors and friends, and I recognized at a young age the importance of standing up for others and knew that was how I wanted to spend my career. It is those experiences that have guided me throughout my career and inspired me to take on the big fights and deliver real results for Pennsylvanians all across the Commonwealth – from uncovering decades of sexual abuse and coverups in the Catholic Church and holding drug companies accountable for fueling the opioid crisis, to fighting for workers who have been ripped off by wealthy corporations and returning over $300 million dollars in relief to student loan borrowers, seniors, small businesses, and consumers. I am proud of my work fighting for Pennsylvanians – but I know there is so much more to be done, because people across our Commonwealth are facing serious challenges right now, and they need a Governor who will focus on their challenges and have their backs and fight for them. I will be a Governor they can count on – one who will create jobs and grow our economy, fix our education system, ensure we have safe communities, and protect their constitutional rights

Dave White (R)
http://www.davewhiteforgovernor.com/ 

Nche Zama (R)

No response

CANDIDATES FOR U.S. SENATOR

Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s opted not to run for a third six-year term. Local.News reached out to all candidates who successfully submitted petitions to run in the race for Pennsylvania U.S. Senator, asking each candidate the same five questions and giving them 5 business days to respond (but accepted responses as late as two weeks later). Some candidates chose to answer the questions. Others opted to send different information. Some candidates failed to respond at all. The responses are published in alphabetical order exactly as we received them

Kathy Barnette (R)

“Linked below is her bio and her 10-point plan for when she takes office as the next U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania.  Also, her website contains many of her proposals and position on the important issues.”

Jeff Bartos (R)

No response

George Bochetto (R)

No response

John Fetterman (D)

Age: 52

County of residence: Allegheny County

Family/pets: Wife, Gisele Barretto Fetterman; 3 Kids, Karl (13) Grace (10) August (8); 2 Rescue dogs, Levi and Arti

Local News: What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for Senator?

Fetterman: I am the best candidate because I am running on the same core set of truths that I have been advancing for the last 20 years. I believe that the country is plagued by rampant inequality, a paltry minimum wage that has not changed in the last 13 years, poor housing and healthcare in marginalized and abandoned communities, a broken criminal justice system, a failed war on drugs, and continued restrictions on the right to vote. These are all things we need to change. I am proud to be the only candidate in this race – Democrat or Republican – who has already run and won statewide. In 2018, when I joined Gov. Wolf on the ticket, we won by over 850,000 votes. I know that I can win in Pennsylvania because I already have. I am also proud to have an unmatched base of supporters, donors, and grassroots volunteers across the Commonwealth, which shows our deep and enthusiastic support and can’t be rivaled by any other campaign. We have received contributions from almost 200,000 people, and we have donors in over 88% of Pennsylvania zip codes, and we aren’t taking a dime of corporate PAC money. Plus our campaign has over 5,500 volunteers committed in all 67 Pennsylvania counties. This is the level of enthusiasm that Democrats are going to need to flip this seat blue.

LN: What do you believe are the top 2 issues facing Pennsylvanians that you will address, if elected?

Fetterman: It’s clear that inflation is affecting every part of American life. To be blunt, inflation is a tax on working people. I feel it myself when I go to the grocery store or fill up my gas tank. We need to deal with rising costs, and we need to make more stuff in America with good-paying union jobs. We cannot ignore that at the same time prices are rising, many corporations are raking in record profits. It is clear that big corporations are taking advantage of inflation and using it as an excuse to squeeze consumers even as their profits skyrocket. Just look at gas prices. ExxonMobil just posted its largest profit in 7 years, yet working people are paying almost $5 a gallon at the pump. In the immediate sense, we need to put an end to this price gouging and stop letting corporations rip off hard working Americans. The Senate needs to hold hearings on how corporations are rising prices on consumers. Additionally, after years of allowing corporations to outsource American jobs to other countries, we have become too reliant on foreign goods, and now, thanks to the pandemic, it’s showing up in supply chain shortages and higher costs for consumer goods. If we made more things here in America, we wouldn’t just create more good union jobs that pay solid wages for American workers, it would also help fight inflation by making sure that prices don’t spike every time there’s a problem overseas. We don’t need to be outsourcing any more jobs and production to China or Mexico.

LN:  Lots of candidates make promises of what they believe they will do, but what is your plan to actually accomplish what you say you will do?

Fetterman: To put it bluntly, if you trust me with your vote on May 17th and in November, you’ll always have my vote in Washington, D.C. I will never turn my back on the core issues I believe in, and I’ll never hide from doing what’s right for Pennsylvania. You know that I’ll accomplish what I say and fight for it because it’s my promise, and I’ll never change my mind on these core issues. You won’t pick up your newspaper and ask, “What? Fetterman flipped on the minimum wage?” You know where I’ll stand, because it’s where I’ve always stood.

LN: Our country is full of negativity and division. What will you do to bring Pennsylvanians together?

Fetterman: My slogan is “Every County, Every Vote,” because I am a firm believer that every single community in Pennsylvania matters and deserves our attention. From a practical political standpoint, but more importantly from a moral standpoint, Democrats cannot afford to write off rural areas and let these voters slip away. My message to rural Pennsylvanians is this: If you feel ignored or underappreciated by the Democratic Party, you have the right to. We as a party have not spent enough time listening to your concerns. That needs to change, and that’s exactly what I’m committed to doing. Focusing on rural areas doesn’t mean we start ignoring our big cities and suburbs. It’s not an either/or. It’s not about pitting urban versus rural, because the reality is there are far too many communities in both that have been overlooked and left behind. I will not fight for one part of Pennsylvania, I’ll fight for one Pennsylvania. We have a lot more in common than not.

LN: Why should Pennsylvanians vote for you?

Fetterman: Pennsylvanians should vote for me because I have been running on the same set of core values my entire career. And I have never had to evolve on the core issues. I have always supported a $15 minimum wage, I’ve never supported Trump’s tax cuts for the rich, I’ve never supported Trump’s border wall, I’ve always believed that health care is a fundamental human right, I’ve always fought to keep jobs here in America, and I’ve always believed that marijuana should be decriminalized and legalized. I am proud of my record, and I believe that it shows I am not only deeply committed to these issues, but that I have been fighting for them for years

Sean Gale (R)

No response

Malcom Kenyatta (D)

No response

Alexandra Khalil (D)

County of Residence: Montgomery County

LN: What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for Senator?

Khalil: I am currently serving my second term on Jenkintown Borough Council. I serve on the Public Safety and Public Works committees. I just helped re-establish the Human Relations Commission and serve as 1st Vice President on the Montgomery County Borough’s Association. In addition, I am an IT Quality professional at a major pharmaceutical company – I am an employee. I was also an IT contractor for 20 plus years in the industry.  I was a franchisee of a 7-11 and also have a law practice.  As an attorney I provide pro-bono legal services to the family of children in need of special education services. I also provide pro-bono legal services to help families obtain guardianships of their disabled children.  I also was an adjunct professor at Gwynedd Mercy University where I taught Business Courses. As a healthcare activist, I joined two good friends – Terry Hoffman and Michael Barrett and setup tables at community events explaining and educating the community on ACA. We did this on our own time and with our own funds.

LN: What do you believe are the top 2 issues facing Pennsylvanians that you will address, if elected?

Khalil: An inclusive quality education for all from daycare to college/trade schools. 2. Bringing manufacturing career-oriented jobs especially those tied to alternative energies and our infrastructure back to Pennsylvania

LN: Lots of candidates make promises of what they believe they will do, but what is your plan to actually accomplish what you say you will do? 

Khalil: I plan to go into all the counties in the state and hold workshops to tackle issues that broadly affect Pennsylvanians and specifically affect an county. My goal is to show good faith to all Pennsylvanians that I am everyone’s US Senator. I don’t have all the answers or the only solution to problems. This is my current strategy as a Borough Councilor and skills I have learned working on projects either as a contractor or employee. I believe diversity and inclusion is very important in finding solutions to the issues affecting Pennsylvanians

LN: Our country is full of negativity and division. What will you do to bring Pennsylvanians together?

Khalil: I will take what I learned in my professional career which is that a solution with and by the community is a best solution. I’ve learned Pennsylvanians need to vent – they are under tremendous pressures. Once the venting is over and I listen and speak to people in a respectful manner, I am then able to learn what is really bothering people. From there we can work toward solutions

LN: Why should Pennsylvanians vote for you?

Khalil: I’m a mom of a dyslexic adult son, an attorney, a Borough Councilor, an activist, daughter of immigrants, a breast cancer survivor, an employee and small business owner. My life experiences are the experiences of Pennsylvanians. I have seen jobs eliminated to outsourcing, I have worked without health insurance and I worked sick because I did not have sick time or vacation time. I paid childcare when my son was a child. I’ve been unemployed. My family (I am one of 6 children) had a small business that would have had to close if a pandemic hit when I was growing up. As a Borough Councilor I hold meetings with my constituents regardless of party to solve issues important to our community.  I have gone door to door as a volunteer for President Obama and Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, various PA candidates and for myself as a US Senate candidate. I have heard stories of suffering, hopelessness, perseverance and gratitude. I pledge to work with ALL Pennsylvanians to solve with them the issues that keep them up at night. I want to thank the people of Pennsylvania for welcoming me into their homes and lives. It has been a pleasure and honor.

Conor Lamb (D)

No response

David McCormick (R)

No response

Mehmet Oz (R)

No response

Carla Sands (R)

Age: 61

County or residence: Cumberland County
Family/pets: In 1999, I married the love of my life, Fred Sands, who passed in 2015. I am blessed with a truly wonderful daughter named Alexandra.

LN: What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for Senator?
Sands:
I was appointed to President Trump’s Economic Advisory Council, after which I served as our nation’s Ambassador to Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. During this time, I worked to advance America First policies that would unleash prosperity at home while countering hostile powers overseas (namely, Russia and China).

LN: What do you believe are the top 2 issues facing Pennsylvanians that you will address, if elected?
Sands: We must end our reliance on foreign oil, return to energy dominance and get inflation under control.


LN: Lots of candidates make promises of what they believe they will do, but what is your plan to actually accomplish what you say you will do?
Sands: I will vote and advocate to unshackle America’s wealth of natural resources, including clean coal and natural gas. In addition, I will vote to curb the runaway federal spending that is fueling inflation and hurting our families and seniors.

LN: Our country is full of negativity and division. What will you do to bring Pennsylvanians together?
Sands:
Pennsylvanians can rest assured that I will steadfastly oppose Critical Race Theory and similar efforts of woke elitists who seek only to divide us. As the great Ronald Reagan warned us back in 1992: ‘We can no longer judge each other on the basis of what we are, but must, instead, start finding out who we are. In America, our origins matter less than our destinations — and that is what democracy is all about.


LN: Why should Pennsylvanians vote for you?
Sands: I will always represent Pennsylvania values and fight to put the constitutional rights and economic interests of Pennsylvanians first.