What’s on Your Ballot? November 5th Election

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer

Next Tuesday, November 5, Swarthmore students registered in the state of Pennsylvania, can go to the polls to vote in local and state elections. Here’s a guide to the candidates and races. The positions are listed in the order they’ll appear on the ballot. Happy voting!

Voting on campus

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Students who are registered to vote in Pennsylvania at their school address and live in NPPR Apartments, Palmer, Pittenger, Roberts, and Mary Lyon should vote at CADES, while all other students who live on campus should vote at Swarthmore-Rutledge School. It’s important to note that if a student previously registered at a different dorm address and have not updated their registration, they should vote at the polling place that corresponds to their old address. Students must present their OneCard if it is their first time voting in Swarthmore.

Judge of the Superior Court

What is the position?

The Superior Court is one of two appellate courts in the state of PA. The Superior Court rules on cases that are appealed from the Court of Common Pleas. The fifteen judges on the panel are elected to ten-year terms. The PA state courts have been increasing in prominence recently. In 2018, the PA Supreme Court redrew congressional maps after ruling that previous maps drawn by the legislature were partisanly motivated. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that over $2 million had been spent on television ads alone for this Superior Court race. 

Who’s running? (vote for no more than two)

  • Daniel McCaffery (D) — a Judge on the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court
  • Amanda Green-Hawkins (D) — Lawyer for the United Steelworkers union
    • Green-Hawkins is running on her commitment to marginalized communities and working class families. She was the only one of the four candidates not to receive a recommendation from the PA Bar Association; the organization cited her limited trial experience as the reason for their decision.   
  • Megan McCarthy King (R) — Attorney in the Chester County district attorney’s office in the child abuse unit
    • She calls herself “a law and order person” and promises to “uphold the constitution and laws as they are written.” McCarthy King received a Recommended rating from the PA Bar Association. 
  • Christylee Peck (R) — Former district attorney in Cumberland County
    • Peck served on the Court of Common Pleas for nearly a decade. Peck received a Recommended rating from the PA Bar Association. 

Judge of the Court of Common Pleas

What is the position?

The Court of Common Pleas is a trial court for common pleas, meaning that they are the first court to hear most cases. Each judge presides over one court and is elected for a ten-year term. 

Who’s running? (vote for no more than four)

  • George B. Dawson (R) — Attorney
  • Kelly Eckel (D) — Attorney
  • Steven K. Gerber (R) — Attorney
  • Stephanie Klein (D) — Attorney
  • Rick Lowe (D) — Attorney
  • Beth Naughton (R) — Attorney
  • Nusrat Rashid (D) — Attorney
  • Wendy B. Roberts (R) — Magisterial District Judge

Delaware County Council

What is the position? 

The five-person council is the executive branch of Delaware County’s government. Republicans have held a majority on the county council since the end of the Civil War. However, there is a considerable chance that Democrats will win control for the first time in this election.

Who’s running? (vote for up to three)

Republicans: In general, Republican candidates are running on low taxes and improved public safety. 

  • Kelly D. Colvin (R) — Activist for children with disabilities
  • Mike Morgan (R) — Chair of the Foundation of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce
  • James H. Raith (R) — Owner of plumbing company

Democrats: Among other things, Democratic candidates are running on prison reform (Delaware County is home to the only privately-run county prison in PA) and on establishing a county health board.

  • Christine Reuther (D) — Attorney
  • Elaine Paul Schaefer (D) — Attorney, director of a conservation nonprofit
  • Monica Taylor (D) — Professor of kinesiology at the University of the Sciences

Delaware County District Attorney

What is the position?

The DA is the top prosecutor in Delaware County. This election is drawing national attention in the light of the 2017 Philadelphia DA election, where civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected on a platform of criminal justice reform. Frequent Democratic-backer George Soros has donated $100,000 to Democrat Stollsteimer’s campaign who is challenging the Republican incumbent. Democrats have also accused an outside Trump-affiliated PAC of running false ads about Stollsteimer. 

Who’s running?

  • Kat Copeland (R), incumbent
    • Copeland supports increased prosecution of sex crimes, cracking down on gangs and gun violence, and expanding treatment for opioid addiction. 
  • Jack Stollsteimer (D) 
    • Stollsteimer is running on a platform of prison reform, including abolishing cash bail and loosening enforcement on low-level drug offenses. He also supports expanding resources to treat opioid addiction. 

Magisterial District Judge 32-1-28

What is the position?

Magisterial district judges preside over traffic cases and other minor criminal and civil cases.

Who’s running?

  • Deborah Krull, incumbent, unopposed

School Director Wallingford Swarthmore School District Region 3

Who’s running? (vote for no more than two)

  • Jerry Ballas (R) — Former paper industry consultant
  • Jennifer Lentz (D) — Attorney

Mayor, Swarthmore Borough

Who’s running?

  • Marty Spiegel (D), incumbent, unopposed
    • Spiegel was appointed interim mayor in January 2019, after former mayor Tim Kearney resigned to serve in the state Senate. 

Council, Swarthmore Borough

Who’s running? (vote for no more than three)

  • Mary Walk (D), incumbent — Attorney
  • Jill Bennett Gaieski (D), incumbent — Anthropology professor
  • Ross F. Schmucki (D), incumbent — Attorney

Proposed Amendment to the PA State Constitution (aka Marsy’s Law)

What would the amendment do?

If ratified, Marsy’s Law would expand the rights of crime victims in the state of Pennsylvania and embed those rights in the state constitution. Among other things, it would give victims the right to a notification if the accused is released or escapes from incarceration, would allow the victim to be present at public hearings for the case, and would grant victims the right to restitution. 

The amendment is supported by the District Attorneys Association and Governor Tom Wolf’s administration. The ACLU of PA and the League of Women’s Voters have come out in opposition to the amendment. In an editorial, the ACLU argued that the law “undermines due process and upends presumption of innocence.” A judge on the Commonwealth Court issued an injunction on Wednesday in response to a case brought by the ACLU, ruling that the amendment would appear on the ballot on Tuesday, but that vote counting would be delayed. 

Retention: Judge of the Superior Court, Retention: Judge of the Commonwealth Court, Retention: Judge of the Court of Common Pleas

What are these positions?

The Superior Court, the Commonwealth Court, and the Court of Common Pleas are three trial courts. After judges are initially elected to these courts, they face retention elections every 10 years, meaning that voters have an option either voting “yes” or “no” on whether the candidate should continue to hold their position. 

Who’s running?

  • Superior Court: Anne E. Lazarus, Judy Olson
  • Commonwealth Court: Kevin Brobson, Patricia A. McCullough

Court of Common Pleas: Linda A. Cartisano

Katie Pruitt

Katie '20 is from McLean, VA, majoring in economics and minoring in political science. In the little time she isn’t studying, going to class, or working on The Phoenix, you can find her listening to podcasts or rereading the same ten or so books for the millionth, billionth time. She doesn’t know what she wants to do after college and she wishes that people would stop asking her about it.

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