PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When voters start to get their mail-in ballots next week or vote in person in May, they will discover something a bit unusual.
There are four statewide ballot questions and some local ones, too. In a primary election, it’s usually a ballot for just Democrats and Republicans, but not this year.READ MORE: Lawsuit: Company Owned By West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Owes $166,000
All voters get to vote on a number of significant ballot questions.
“It’s very important for people to know that there’s a lot on the ballot for every voter in this primary,” Ruth Quint told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Quint, who prepares the non-partisan website for the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, says the first two ballot questions are state constitutional amendments on emergency powers.
“It shifts a lot of control from the governor’s role over to the role of the legislature,” said Quint.
A “yes” vote on these two amendments allows lawmakers to overturn a governor’s emergency powers and limits his declarations to just 21 days.
“It would be the whole legislature, 253 representatives and senators in Harrisburg, making these regulations about the curfew, the business regulations, and so on,” Quint said.
The third constitutional amendment would declare that equal rights could not be abridged because of race or ethnicity.
“So far that’s not in the Pennsylvania Constitution, although there are some similar clauses,” said Quint.READ MORE: Businesses Hope Partial Closure Of Fort Duquesne Boulevard Will Breathe Life Back Into Downtown
A fourth statewide ballot question allows paid fire companies to get the same state loans for equipment now available to volunteer fire companies.
Besides the state questions, counties often have their own ballot referenda.
“In Allegheny County, there’s a ballot question that is very hard to understand. It talks about changing the conditions of confinement at the Allegheny County Jail,” said Quint.
Turns out a “yes” vote on this would limit the use of solitary confinement at the jail.
As for municipal ballot questions, there is one in the city of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh votes on whether to prohibit city police from using no-knock warrants, although the district attorney’s office says those warrants are not available in Pennsylvania. But a no-knock warrant was used in Louisville by police in the Breonna Taylor case.
“No knock warrants have been in the news a lot lately. It’s something a lot of community groups are involved in getting this referendum on the ballot,” said Quint.
Remember, all voters, including Independents, get to vote in this primary on these ballot questions.MORE NEWS: NASA Rocket Launch Should Be Visible Along East Coast Saturday Night
Click here for more on the upcoming primary.