Three amendments, judges, sheriff, city council on 2021 primary ballot

It should come as no surprise that the 2021 Primary turnout is expected to be a fraction of the size of the county’s 2020 Presidential election turnout in November. 

Historically, the election after a presidential race is the smallest, but from a local level, no less important. 

The key races on the ballot this year are magistrate judges, county sheriff, city/borough council, township supervisors, borough mayors, school board members and more

Three ballot questions will also be on the ballot. These will be on both the Democrat and Republican ballots and open to independent voters who are unable to vote on either of the party ballots. 

Ballot questions:

Proposed Constitutional Amendment 1 

Termination or Extension of Disaster Emergency Declarations 

  • Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration – and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration – through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval?

Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 

Disaster Emergency Declaration and Management 

  • Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law so that: a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency; the Governor may not declare a new disaster emergency to respond to the dangers facing the Commonwealth unless the General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution; the General Assembly enacts new laws for disaster management? 

Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3 

Prohibition Against Denial or Abridgement of Equality of Rights Because of Race or Ethnicity 

  • Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended by adding a new section providing that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of an individual’s race or ethnicity? 

Statewide Referendum 

Making Municipal Fire and Emergency Medical Services Companies Eligible for Loans

  • Do 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 under 35 PA.C.S. Section 7378.1 (related to referendum for additional indebtedness) to include loans to municipal fire departments or companies that provide services through paid personnel and emergency medical services companies for the purpose of establishing and modernizing facilities to house apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, and for purchasing apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, protective and communications equipment and any other accessory equipment necessary for the proper performance of the duties of the fire companies and emergency medical services companies? 

Roughly 4,100 mail-in ballots were requested for the 2021 primary, according to Forrest Lehman, director of Voter Services for Lycoming County. He anticipates getting roughly 3,000 returned for the primary. 

This is just 25% of the number of mail-in ballots requested for the November election, which topped 15,000 and Lehman said about 12,500 were returned. 

The low mail-in turnout means that the full unofficial election results should be available by Tuesday evening, Lehman said. He added that his office is able to start processing the mail-in ballots during the day but they won’t be published until after 8 p.m. with the rest of the in-person votes. 

Lehman reiterated that he, and other election officials around the state have advocated for the freedom to process the mail-in ballots before election day, but it is an amendment that the state legislator has yet to address. 

“We’ve been asking for it non-stop for a year,” Lehman said. The concern for pre-canvasing mail-in ballots is that early election results could be leaked, however Lehman said that this is highly unlikely as there has not been an issue over the past two elections in June and November of 2020.

Author

  • Anne Reiner has been a journalist for over eight years. She lives in Lycoming County and founded On the PULSE to create a new and engaging way to bring local news to the region of Northcentral, Pennsylvania.

Anne Reiner

Anne Reiner has been a journalist for over eight years. She lives in Lycoming County and founded On the PULSE to create a new and engaging way to bring local news to the region of Northcentral, Pennsylvania.