PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Tuesday is Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania.
While it’s typically a day just for Democrats and Republicans to vote, all voters can vote in this election because of four statewide ballot questions. These off-year elections are often more important than most. Why?READ MORE: Pittsburgh's Fireworks Task Force Uses ShotSpotter To Help Crackdown On Illegal Fireworks
That’s because voters choose the county, municipal, and school board members — who raise most of your taxes. Yet very few Pennsylvanians will vote.
“If history is any guide, then maybe 16, 17 percent – so maybe one out of every seven registered voters will turn out tomorrow,” Ruth Quint of the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday.
Low turnout is a surprise given the impact of these elections on local services and schools.
“The effects of the municipal elections are close to home. It’s which roads get paved, what your curriculum is at the school, all kinds of decisions like that that affect you on a day-to-day basis,” said Quint.
While primaries are designed for only Republicans and Democrats to pick their party nominees, this year’s primary is open to all voters because some key constitutional amendments affecting emergency declarations and equal rights are on the ballot.
“If you’re registered Independent or Green Party or Libertarian or one of the major parties, you can go in and vote on some very important ballot questions,” says Quint.READ MORE: 2 Injured In Drive-By Shooting In Aliquippa
At least 800,000 voters requested mail-in ballots for this primary — 125,000 in Allegheny County alone — but many have not yet returned those ballots. Now it’s too late to mail them.
“Postmarks don’t count,” said Quint.
At this late date, you can either take your ballot to a drop-off box at your county elections office by 8 p.m. Tuesday or bring it to the polls on Election Day, where it will be voided and you can vote in person.
And if you applied and did not get your mail-in ballot, go to your polling place on Tuesday.
“If you lost it or if you never received it, you can go to your polling place and ask to vote on a provisional ballot,” says Quint.
It will take some time to vote this year.MORE NEWS: Former VA Doctor Who Admitted To Fondling Women Sentenced To Probation
Besides the high visibility Pittsburgh mayor’s race, statewide races for Supreme, Superior, and Commonwealth courts are on the ballot, along with dozens of candidates running for local judge.