Election Preview: Big choices for Pennsylvania

Election 2022 Pennsylvania Senate
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks during a campaign event with Dave Matthews in downtown Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

All eyes are on Pennsylvania as the state’s voters prepare to choose a new U.S. senator and governor.

On Saturday, President Joe Biden and Barack Obama rallied at Temple University in support of Democratic candidates John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro.

Meanwhile, another former president, Donald Trump, was in western part of the state campaigning for Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz.

Recent polls show Oz, a celebrity doctor and television host, in a dead heat with Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor, in a race that could decide which party controls the Senate.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, visits the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 91 in West Homestead, Pa., Oct. 18, 2022.AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File

Green Party candidate and Allegheny County attorney Richard L. Weiss; Daniel Wassmer, of the newly-formed Keystone Party; and Libertarian carpentry business owner Erik Gerhardt will also appear on the ballot for U.S. Senate.

Surveys show that Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, and his running mate, state Rep. Austin Davis, appear to have the edge in the contest for governor and lieutenant governor over state Sen. Doug Mastriano and state Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso.

Other candidates for governor and lieutenant governor include Christina Digiulio and Michael Badges-Canning (Green Party), Matt Hackenburg and Timothy McMaster (Libertarian), and Joseph Soloski and Nicole Schultz (Keystone).

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. To find your voting location and view a sample ballot, go to atlas.phila.gov/voting and type in your address.

Election officials are encouraging anyone who still has not submitted their mail-in ballot to hand deliver it to a dropbox to make sure the envelope arrives in time to be counted. All mail votes must be received by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Dropboxes are located at City Hall (near South Broad Street), Riverview Place (520 N. Columbus Blvd.), Eastern State Penitentiary, Markward Playground, Pelbano Recreation Center, Ford PAL Rec Center, Smith Playground, Vogt Rec Center, Independence Branch Library, Dorothy Emanuel Rec Center, Pleasant Playground, Shissler Rec Center, Chalfont Playground, Stenton Playground, Kendrick Rec Center, Kingsessing Rec Center and at the election warehouse at 11311 Roosevelt Blvd.

Mail ballots must be inserted into the blue “secrecy” envelope, which then should be put into the larger return envelope. Voters are required to sign and date the return envelope.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week ordered counties not to tally mail-in ballots lacking a date or with an incorrect date, defined as any day before Sept. 19 or after Nov. 8. Officials have been told to “segregate and preserve” such votes.

Ongoing litigation will likely determine whether those ballots are eventually counted or discarded.

The City Commissioners, who oversee elections in Philadelphia, published a list Saturday of residents who submitted flawed ballots at vote.phila.gov.

Affected voters can visit Room 140 at City Hall between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday and from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to get a replacement ballot. Those who cannot make it to City Hall can cast a provisional ballot at their polling place.

More than 1 million mail-in and absentee votes have been returned in Pennsylvania, including about 106,000 in Philadelphia, according to a state data dashboard.

Experts say not to expect results in the hours after polls close, particularly in tight races, due to the number of mail-in ballots that need to be tabulated.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Democratic nominee for governor, addresses attendees at an SEIU union event in Philadelphia, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022.AP Photo/Ryan Collerd, File

Pennsylvania, unlike some other states, does not permit the counting of votes before Election Day. City election workers will begin pre-canvassing at 7 a.m. and will continue without interruption until all ballots are tallied, officials have said.

In addition to the high-profile gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests, voters will be choosing representatives for Congress, City Council and the state legislature, and Philadelphians will weigh in on a pair of ballot questions.

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle is running for reelection against the GOP’s Aaron Bashir, who unsuccessfully challenged Boyle’s brother, Kevin, two years ago in a Northeast Philadelphia state house race.

Congressman Dwight Evans, who was first sent to Washington in 2016, is heavily favored to win another term. His opponent is Christopher Hoeppner, of the Socialist Workers Party.

And in a district that covers Delaware County and parts of South Philadelphia, Republican David Galluch, a U.S. Navy veteran who works for Comcast, is attempting to unseat U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon.

Four special elections will be held Tuesday to fill City Council spots vacated by members who resigned to run in the 2023 Democratic primary for mayor.

Two of the positions are at-large seats, meaning voters across Philadelphia will select members to represent the city as a whole.

Jimmy Harrity and Sharon Vaughn, who were chosen by Democratic leaders in September, are likely to win those seats, given the city’s political makeup.

Harrity is grouped with Republican Drew Murray and Libertarian Poetica Bey on the ballot, while Vaughn is up against GOP candidate Jim Hasher and Marc Jurchak, a Libertarian. Whoever emerges with the most votes will replace Derek Green and Allan Domb.

In the 7th Council District, previously represented by Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Democrat Quetcy Lozada is favored in a race that also includes Republican James Whitehead and Libertarian Randall Justus.

And Democratic nominee Anthony Phillips will likely replace Cherelle Parker in a district that includes parts of Northwest and Lower Northeast Philadelphia. GOP candidate Roslyn Ross and Libertarian Yusuf Jackson are also running.

Doug Mastriano
Doug Mastriano speaks at an event on July 1, 2022, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.AP Photo/Marc Levy, File

Three incumbent Democratic state senators in Philadelphia are aiming to secure another four-year term.

Art Haywood, first elected eight years ago, is opposed by the GOP’s Todd Johnson, and Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams will go against Republican John V. Hayes. Sen. Christine Tartaglione is unopposed.

In the much smaller state house districts, candidates are running unopposed in 19 of the 26 districts located in the city.

Philadelphia voters will be prompted to answer “yes” or “no” to two questions, the first of which would transfer management of the city’s airports to a newly-created Department of Aviation.

The other question, if approved, would provide a hiring preference for graduates of the School District of Philadelphia’s career and technical education programs who apply through the Civil Service process for municipal jobs.

Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson championed the measure. During a meeting in June, opponents argued it would dilute a similar benefit aimed at helping military veterans.

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