Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
While they may not garner the headlines like fights over the White House, Congress, Legislature or Governor’s Office, voters across Pennsylvania will head to the polls today to cast their ballots for offices that are just as consequential — or maybe even more consequential — when it comes to their ground-level impact on our daily lives.
That’s because voters will choose representatives for their local borough councils, township supervisor boards, and school board. From public safety to questions of school re-openings during the pandemic, the decisions made by these local boards, peopled by unpaid volunteers, are the embodiment of the kind of representative government we hope our kids are all learning about in civics class.
There are also races for local and statewide judges on the ballot — right up to the state Supreme Court. As well as some critically important proposed changes to the state Constitution. You can read about all of them in the Capital-Star’s Voters Guide.
Which means that it’s hugely important for you to turn out today (Independents can vote for those amendment questions. Don’t get me started on the need for open primaries).
Maybe some of you have already, and you’ve dropped your ballot at your local county election office. Or maybe you’re headed to the local fire hall or community building, or a church hall to cast your ballot in person.
And given the events of the last few months, and the unprecedented attacks on voting rights that we’re seeing unfold on Capitol Hill and in state capitols across the country (including right here in Pennsylvania, where one lawmaker is pushing a proposal to repeal no-excuse mail-in balloting entirely), your exercise of the franchise today is more important than ever.
That’s because showing up at your county election office to drop off your ballot isn’t only an exercise in civic engagement, it’s a statement on your right to cast your ballot as you see fit (If you’re voting in person, you can find your local polling place here).
There will be some who will tell you that your participation in today’s election is a privilege. Don’t believe them for a minute. It’s your right as a citizen. And as last November’s election proved so vividly, more of us participate if we’re given an expanded array of choices on how to cast our ballots. That’s particularly true of underrepresented communities.
And that worries some folks — even though it shouldn’t. They should be worried about the strength of their arguments and the appeal of their candidates.
Because if they’re nailing those fundamentals, then any bang and clatter about how people are casting their ballots is simply a distraction. And if they’re not nailing those fundamentals, limiting your choices is just a way to tilt the playing field to make up for those foundational shortcomings.
Finally, however you cast your ballot today — and for whomever you cast it — cast it proudly. And just remember that there’s no such thing as an ‘off-year’ election.
The top two Republicans in the General Assembly: House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, have rolled out a long-awaited lobbying reform package. Reformers say it’s a start – maybe. Staff Reporter Marley Parish has the details.
Despite updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pa. businesses and schools can require masks, Cassie Miller reports.
A newly launched effort aims to identify, document, and preserve the history of Philadelphia’s underrepresented communities, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.
On our Commentary Page this morning, It’s Foster Care Month this month, and opinion regular Frank Pizzoli writes about the challenges facing LGBTQ parents. And opinion regular Ray E. Landis says our post-truth age has made it easier for scam artists who prey on the elderly to flourish.
The Inquirer has what you need to watch for in today’s Democratic primary for Philadelphia district attorney between incumbent Larry Kranser and challenger Carlos Vega.
In Pittsburgh, officials have condemned the same downtown buildings that they’re trying to save, the Post-Gazette reports. And, yes, you read that right.
The head of Pennsylvania’s state university system says there’s no way to delay a decision to consolidate six campuses down to two, PennLive reports.
If you’re voting in Lancaster County today, LancasterOnline has your clip-and-save guide to what you need to know.
UGI customers will see their gas bills rise in June and December, the Morning Call reports.
The Citizens’ Voice has its guide for local elections today.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, of Harrisburg, will leave the federal bench to serve as the new president of Dickinson College, the Associated Press reports (via the York Daily Record).
Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:
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Students in New Jersey will return to full-time, in-person learning this fall, WHYY-FM reports.
Asian-American residents in State College speak to WPSU-FM about enduring harassment — as well as their hopes for change.
State Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, a likely GOP gubernatorial candidate, says he plans to reintroduce legislation allowing for open primaries, GoErie reports.
The Observer-Reporter previews today’s primary election for local voters.
New environmental justice measures might revive cap-and-trade in the states, Stateline.org reports.
As the debate over infrastructure heats up, Democrats on Capitol Hill are pushing tax hikes on the wealthy over infrastructure user fees, Roll Call reports.
What Goes On.
It’s Election Day in Pennsylvania. The docket is clear.
Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.
This one’s an Election Day tradition — primary and general — that goes back to the old Capitol Ideas days at the Morning Call. From Nashville power-pop stalwarts The Shazam, here’s the wonderful ‘Super Tuesday.’ Play this one loud.
Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Carolina opened the first round of their play-off series with a 5-2 win over Nashville on Monday night. The ‘Canes’ Jordan Staal scored twice on the way to the win.
And now you’re up to date.