Pennsylvania’s primary election day is Tuesday, May 20, and the polls will be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
You understand the importance of turnout if you have seen the “ground game” that candidates run in elections these days.
The vote that is assured, including people tied to the government and other reliable votes, are “pulled” by a team working for a particular candidate. Independents, and centrists in general, are not urged to come out. And so when turnout drops too low, a lazy electorate can result in an unwanted result.
According to statistics assembled in the election project at the George Mason University, only about 40% of Pennsylvanians eligible to vote came out for the gubernatorial general election in 2010. The turnout in primaries is usually even lower; in 2012, only 20% of the electorate bothered to vote in the primary.
For a representative government to be truly representative, we all need to vote and to get others to vote.
Information on absentee ballots and the most important races after the jump.
If you cannot be at the polls on election day, you may vote absentee ballot.
The completed application form must be received by your county’s election board by 5 p.m. on May 13; having it postmarked by May 13 does not count. In addition, only an original of your completed application can be submitted; do not submit a copy of your form.
For example, people in Montgomery County can mail their applications to: Election Board, Montgomery County Court House, P.O. Box 311, Norristown, PA 19404-0311.
To file in person or through UPS or FedEx, the address would be: Election Board, One Montgomery Plaza, Suite 602, 425 Swede Street, Norristown, PA 19401.
Completed absentee ballots must be returned to the same office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 16. If the ballot is to be delivered by hand, then it may only be returned by the actual voter. And again, having a completed ballot postmarked by May 16 does not count.
People serving in the military can also vote through absentee ballot. However, different deadlines apply.
Among the many contests, four important races to be decided have created real excitement.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is seeking a second term. Seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose him in the Fall general election are four candidates:
- State Treasurer Rob McCord;
- Kathleen McGinty, previously state environmental protection secretary;
- Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz; and
- Tom Wolfe, previously state revenue secretary.
Also running are Paul Glover for the Green Party, and Ken Krawchuk for the Libertarian Party.
In the race to be the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 13th District, former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies is battling State Sen. Daylin Leach, State Rep. Brendan Boyle and medical professor Valerie Arkoosh.
Lining up to oppose incumbent Republican Mike Fitzpatrick in the 8th District are two Democrats: publisher Shaughnessy Naughton, and Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran Kevin Strouse.
Long-time Democratic State Senator LeAnna Washington represents the 4th District, spanning portions of Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County. Challengers in this race are nonprofit social services officer Brian Gralnick, and Cheltenham Township Commissioner Art Haywood. The race is considered competitive because the incumbent is under indictment for misuse of public funds and staff.
Other congressional races will be decided, along with local races for state legislature that add to the interest and importance of this primary.