Voting in PA: A guide for a Pennsylvanian’s voting process

During these uncertain times, it is expected that people may want change. Luckily for them, 2020 is a major election year for Pennsylvanians. Voting is a great way for normal, everyday people to elect officials to create change in their communities and homeland. One may wonder how they can go about voting, as well as find out information about the candidates. Here is everything you need to know about voting in Pennsylvania District 7 during the 2020 election:

The Process

2020 marks a special occurrence with the election process. Citizens in the 7th District, as well as the rest of the state, will have the option to go to the polls and vote physically or fill out a ballot at home and send it in through the mail. The deadline to request for mail-in or absentee ballots is Oct. 27 by 5 p.m. You can apply for mail-in ballots either online or at your local county election board. These requests are to be sent to local election offices. 

Once you receive and fill-out your mail-in ballot, you should seal it back in a secrecy envelope that comes with your ballot. Then, put the secrecy envelope in the return envelope, fill out the form on the back of it, and mail it to the local election offices by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. 

If you decide to attend the polls physically, you can find your assigned polling place online. Once there, you should check in with the poll workers. Listen to what they have to say, as this year is unlike any other and procedures are subject to change. You will have the option to either use a paper ballot or a voting machine, which casts your vote digitally. 

For more information on voting, please visit:

https://www.pa.gov/guides/voting-and-elections/

For locations of drop-off boxes for mail-in voting, please visit:

https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/swingcounty/2020/10/where-are-the-ballot-drop-boxes-in-lehigh-county-1-is-open-more-to-come-friday-map.html

The Candidates

During this election, Pennsylvanians in District 7 will be voting for: The President of the United States, 7th District US House Representative, PA Attorney General, PA State Treasurer, and PA Auditor General. Here is information about each candidate:

The President

Three names will appear on the PA Presidential Ballot: President Donald Trump (R-Incumbent), Former VP Joe Biden (D) and Jo Jorgensen (L). 

Donald Trump (R-Incumbent) – Donald Trump is running as the Republican nominee for POTUS. His experience includes being the incumbent for the last four years on top of running his real estate business since 1971. Trump is widely considered pro-life. He previously stated that while Planned Parenthood does “wonderful things” for women, abortions should not be state-funded. He is also considered pro-gun. While he is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, he helped enforce a ban on bump stocks and silencers. 

He is widely perceived as a nationalist, pushing an “American First” agenda. He has renegotiated NATO with Canada and Mexico as well as pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. While he has not fully fulfilled his 2016 campaign promise of building a wall along the southern border, some work has started near San Diego. However, this sentiment has not stopped him from getting involved with foreign relations. In August 2020, he helped negotiate a peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. He also ordered the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and was the first sitting president to meet with the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un. 

Trump has received much criticism during his tenure as POTUS. Namely, he has chosen to keep the economy open during the pandemic and not have a nationwide lockdown, rather relying on the states to come up with their own restrictions, of which he has not been in favor. He also was under investigation multiple times during his presidency. The first half of his presidency dealt with the possibility that he asked Russia to meddle with the U.S. election, although no substantial evidence came out of the Muller report. Trump was later impeached by the House of Representatives after a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was revealed to have taken place. In the call, Trump asked Zelensky to launch an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, the latter allegedly having been involved with numerous conspiracy theories with the country. Trump was later acquitted of the charges.

Joseph Biden (D) – Joe Biden is running as the Democratic nominee for POTUS. His experience includes being a member of the United States Senate from Delaware from 1972 to 2008 and Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.  He is considered pro-choice, although previously has a voting record of being more pro-life, and is for tougher gun restrictions, such as enforcing universal background checks and red flag laws. 

Biden is in favor of giving benefits to companies who choose to keep their companies on domestic land, raising taxes for those who move them to other countries. He is also in favor of raising taxes for those who make more than $400,000 a year. He plans to increase social security benefits. On top of that, he is against a single-payer healthcare system and instead supports Medicare for All. He has suggested lowering the age for Medicare from 65 to 60. 

Biden plans on tackling the pandemic head-on. He has stated that he would shut the country down if top scientists suggested he should do so. He is also in favor of free and accessible coronavirus testing and vaccines, once one becomes available.

While Biden may seem like the more progressive candidate, his voting history tells a different story. He is on record for voting for pro-segregationist and pro-life policy, topics he later changed his opinion on. Only time will tell what type of policy he will enact if he elected this November. 

Jo Jorgensen (L) – Jo Jorgensen is running as the Libertarian nominee for POTUS. She is the only third-party candidate that will be on the ballot, as Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins was removed by a court order. Her experience includes working as a Senior Lecturer of Psychology at Clemson University. She ran for the House of Representatives in 1992 and was the VP nominee for the Libertarian Party in 1996. She is considered pro-choice and pro-gun, as she is against any further gun regulations as well as the opportunity for victims of gun-violence to sue manufacturers. 

She is for the repeal of all non-victim crime laws regarding topics such as drugs, sex, and gambling and for the abolishment of government regulations on coal power, while claiming she will help produce cleaner energy solutions. She is also against state-issued licenses for marriage and claims the Department of Education has failed. She is against a border law and wants to end as many travel restrictions and tariffs as possible.

Pennsylvania 7th Congressional District Representative

This position serves as the representative to the House of Representatives from the Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton areas. 

Susan Wild (Incumbent) (D) – Susan Wild is the current incumbent for the 7th Congressional District of PA and is running as the Democratic Nominee. Her experience includes being the incumbent for the district since 2018. She has served on the Committee of Labor and Education, Committee of Ethics, and Committee of Foreign Affairs in the House. She has voted for various relief bills in the House for small businesses and families. She also voted yes to both articles of impeachment for Donald Trump. 

Lisa Scheller (R)  – Lisa Scheller is running as the Republican nominee for the 7th Congressional District of PA. She has served on the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners from 2012 through 2016. She is considered mostly pro-life and pro-gun. She plans to keep Social Security and Medicare, fight against a Green New Deal and sanctuary cities, and fight against the opioid crisis. The latter issue is a personal one for her, as she was a heroin addict and has been sober for 38 years. 

State Attorney General

The State Attorney General is the highest legal officer in Pennsylvania. There will be four candidates on the ballot. 

Josh Shapiro (D) (Incumbent) – Josh Shapiro is the incumbent State Attorney General and he is running as the Democratic nominee. His experience includes being a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and a County Board Commissioner. During his time in office, he has helped with numerous investigations, such as the 2018 extensive grand jury report on the Catholic Church. Shapiro also supports the legalization of recreational marijuana. He was under fire for directing communication staffers to paint his Wikipedia page in a positive light.

Heather Heidelbaugh (R) –  Heather Heidelbaugh is the Republican nominee for State Attorney General. Her experience includes 35 years in the courtroom. She plans on combating corrupt politicians, opioids, and scammers who call people on the do not call list. 

Daniel Wassmer (L) – Daniel Wassmer is the Libertarian candidate for State Attorney General. His experience includes being an attorney in Doylestown.  His top three goals are to work on criminal justice reform, decriminalization of marijuana, and stopping the antitrust litigation. 

Richard L. Weiss (G) – Richard Weiss is the Green Party candidate for State Attorney General. His experience includes working as an attorney for the Federal Government at the U.S. Agency for International Development and in Indonesia with financing development projects. His main goals are to reform the criminal justice system — including cash bail — decriminalize sex and drug work, and establish police observation boards. 

State Treasurer

The State Treasurer is in charge of overseeing the spending of state money. There will be four candidates on the ballot. 

Joe Torsella (D) (Incumbent) – Joe Torsella is the incumbent State Treasurer and he is running as the Democratic nominee.  His experience includes working as deputy mayor for policy and planning in Philadelphia from 1992 to 1993, founding as well as serving as the President of the Constitution Center museum in 1997, working as the UN Ambassador to the UN for Management and reform in 2011, in which he worked on spending, and serving as the State Treasurer since 2017. His ideas include having a Pennsylvania Sunshine Checkbook where citizens can view the spending of state money and working on a state retirement plan. 

Stacy L. Garrity (R) – Stacy Garrity is running for State Treasurer as the Republican nominee. A veteran, she served as a cost accountant at Global Tungsten & Powders Corp., eventually becoming the first of two female vice-presidents. She also is on the board for Bradford County United Way. Her priorities as treasurer are to make education affordable, eliminate hidden taxes and fees, and make an accessible way for people to view public spending.  

Joe Soloski (L) – Joe Soloski is running for State Treasurer as the Libertarian nominee. His goals as treasurer are to enforce term limits for legislators, eliminate the state inheritance tax, expand the hemp industry, cut legislators’ pay, and reduce the corporate net income tax.

Timothy Runkle (G) – Timothy Runkle is running for State Treasurer as the Green nominee. His experience includes working as an environmental project manager. His goals are helping implement a Green New Deal, reform the criminal justice system — including ending cash bail — and ending tax loopholes for big corporations. 

Auditor General

The Auditor General is responsible for reporting and auditing the state’s operations. There are four candidates on the ballot. 

Nina Ahmad (D) – Nina Ahmad is the Democratic nominee for Auditor General. Her experience includes being the Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement in Philadelphia as well as being the president of Philadelphia NOW and on the board for the Philadelphia Foundation. Under Obama, she was a member of the National Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Her goals include taking on large pharmaceutical companies and the NRA. 

Timothy DeFoor (R) – Timothy DeFoor is the Republican nominee for Auditor General. His experience includes working as a Special Investigator with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and as a Dauphin County Controller. His goals include ending political loopholes and axing wasteful government spending. 

Jennifer Moore (L) – Jenifer Moore is the Libertarian nominee for Auditor General. Her experience includes working twenty years in finance as well as serving as Montgomery County’s auditor since 2018. 

Olivia Faison (Green) – Olivia Faison is the Green nominee for Auditor General. Her experience includes being the chair of Health Center #4 Advisory Committee and Secretary on the Board of Directors for the City of Philadelphia help centers.

Extra Information

To find out more about each candidate, see the provided links: 

President

Donald Trump – https://www.donaldjtrump.com

Joe Biden – https://joebiden.com/

Jo Jorgensen – https://jo20.com/

Pennsylvania 7th Congressional District Representative

Susan Wild – https://wild.house.gov/

Lisa Scheller – https://schellerforcongress.com

State Attorney General

Josh Shapiro – https://www.joshshapiro.org/

Heather Heidelbaugh – http://heatherheidelbaugh.com/

Daniel Wassmer – http://www.wassmer4pa.com

Richard L. Weiss – https://www.gpofpa.org/candidates_2020

State Treasurer 

Joe Torsella – https://www.joetorsella.com/

Stacy L. Garrity – https://www.garrityforpa.com

Joe Soloski – https://joesoloski.com

Tim Runkle –  https://www.gpofpa.org/candidates_2020

Auditor General

Nina Ahmad – https://www.ninaforpa.com/

Tim DeFoor – https://www.defoor4pa.com/

Jennifer Moore – https://lpedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Moore

Olivia Faison – https://www.greenslate2020.org/auditor_general

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