• Ashley Best Raiten

Ballot Questions: What you need to know

In the primary election there are FOUR ballot questions. The primary is your ONLY chance to vote on these measures. For quick reference, the Party’s position is to vote as follows:

Question 1: NO

Question 2: NO

Question 3: YES

Question 4 YES

Interested in knowing more? Read on!

Question #1Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to give the Legislature the sole power to make disaster emergency declarations? This is the Republicans’ attempt at changing the constitution to facilitate a power grab, plain and simple. If adopted, it would allow the Legislature to supersede the Governor’s power to declare an emergency. Currently, upon the declaration of a state of emergency, the governor has executive powers such as calling in FEMA if necessary, and managing the Health Department; this allows for quick, decisive action, which is essential during an emergency. By allowing the legislature to usurp this role, we risk putting these decisions in the hands of a large, partisan group, potentially putting Pennsylvanians at risk. Vote NO

Question #2Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to limit any disaster emergency declaration to only 21 days unless the Legislature votes to extend the emergency declaration, and to take away the governor’s authority to manage new emergencies and disasters in the timely manner we need? This is another attempt at a power grab by the Republicans. The arguments against this ballot questions are the same as those against number 1. Vote NO

Question #3Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended by adding a new section providing that equality of rights shall not be denied because of an individual's race or ethnicity?

Despite looking simple, this ballot question has been subject to some debate. A yes vote states that you agree that all levels of PA government, entities, and institutions be prohibited from discriminating against individuals because of their race or ethnicity. Those arguing for a no vote fear that the use of the word “individual” could open the door to so-called “reverse-discrimination” lawsuits that benefit white people. The Democratic party position is to Vote YES.

Question #4Do you favor expanding the use of the indebtedness authorized under the referendum for loans to volunteer fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads?

This would allow every township in the Commonwealth to apply for loans from state funds for needs of their fire departments, such as ongoing maintenance of equipment. A YES vote enables wealthy townships such as Lower Merion, which can afford a professional fire department, to apply for loans as needed from this common pool of funds. Vote YES

To read the full text of each question click here.

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