Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Today is Election Day! While national attention is glued to the 2016 presidential race, critical battles are being fought right now in Delaware County and in Pennsylvania. Today, candidates for borough council, school board, county council, county court, and Pennsylvania Supreme Court are all on the ballot.
They may not be sparring with each other on national TV or chatting with Stephen Colbert, but the local candidates who are elected today will have a larger impact on the daily lives of Pennsylvanians than whoever wins the presidential race. The county council, for example, sets the county budget, decides tax rates, oversees public works projects, and keeps the county’s essential services operating. Washington can grind to a halt, but Delaware County cannot. Someone has to keep the lights on, and this is the level at which the important day-to-day decisions are made.
Additionally, this election is doubly important due to the three open seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Only a seven-justice court, this body hears cases on issues such as affirmative action, gun control, women’s rights, voter ID, and redistricting. Redistricting, in particular, is an incredibly important and contentious issue in Pennsylvania, and the Supreme Court plays a critical role in how the maps are drawn. So, although there are no State House or State Senate candidates on the ballot today, your vote will impact who is representing Pennsylvanians in Harrisburg for years to come.
Polls are open today from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. If you are registered to vote in an on-campus dorm north of the Swarthmore SEPTA station, your polling location is Swarthmore Rutledge School (100 College Ave.), which you can walk to by following the chalk path from Parrish Circle. If you are registered to vote in an off-campus dorm south of the SEPTA station, you vote at Cades (401 Rutgers Ave.). For another transportation option, Swat Democrats and Swat Conservatives are teaming up to offer the annual “Vote Boat,” a student driven van. The Vote Boat will be going back and forth between Parrish Circle and both polling locations between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Whether you walk, bike, or hop a ride on the Vote Boat, with just a few minutes of your time today, you can have a voice in how decisions right at the door of Swarthmore’s campus are made. Please vote!
Maggie Christ is the President of Swarthmore College Democrats