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Know Before You Go: Understanding The Pennsylvania Primary Ballot

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Less than a week now, you will face one of the longest ballots in recent memory.

The Pennsylvania Primary is Tuesday and the League of Women Voters says do yourself a favor and check out the ballot ahead of time.

"The primary is very detailed and confusing and I think that's why a lot of voters don't go," says the league's webmaster Ruth Quint.

She points out the candidates on the ballot are hyper-local including mayors, town councils, school boards, and the judiciary. Many of those positions have a direct impact on your life like the school board races.

"They set your local school taxes, which is something that everybody cares about," she says.

The race for the nine seats of the Common Pleas Court alone has 39 candidates which often results in voting for reasons that have nothing to do with a candidate's ability.

"You're going to get in there and you're going to see a ballot that has people you've never heard of before unless you do your homework," Quint explained.

Quint says the League's website can remove the mystery.

"33 of the 39 have sent in a little short video explaining their answers to some policy questions," she says.

There's also

"Where they have answered questions about their experience and their background and their own personality traits in their own words," Quint explains.

For the judicial races, the Allegheny County Bar Association has rated the candidates from "Highly Recommended" to "Unqualified."

Name recognition does not always equate to qualified.

There are also several ballot questions that are written in legal lingo and will take time to read and understand at the ballot box but they are available to review on the League's website.

"There's two about the emergency powers of the governor," Quint explains. "There's one about equal rights under the law. And in Allegheny County, there's one about the use of solitary confinement at the Allegheny County Jail."

Quint says if you arrive at the polling place and you don't know the candidates the responsible thing to do is not vote in that race.

"Because you're giving power to people when you vote, power to make decisions that affect everybody's lives. So if you don't know, skip it, but if you want to know, know before you go."


League of Women Voters Pittsburgh

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