With just a little over 100 days to go until the November election, it's no secret that the political world is going to get a little hotter as we elect (or re-elect) a president. Many voters turn out for presidential elections than other elections, so it will be a busy, busy time.

Often overlooked in the frenzy about the president are the other candidates on the ballot — including statewide offices. Those candidates are finding themselves having to work a little harder to get their message out since all the "usual" events that candidates attend are canceled.

The pandemic is playing havoc with the political parties themselves with the restrictions on how many people can attend a gathering. At this point, it's only 25 for inside and 250 for outside. That eliminates the annual dinners for local parties — at this point.

Those dinners usually serve as a "cheerleading" event, if you will, to get the troops enthused to go out and solicit votes for their candidates.

Time will tell how tell how well candidates and the party faithful handle the challenges.

• • •

The polling numbers always are interesting to watch. Those supporting Joe Biden for president are happy with the latest polls. Those supporting President Donald Trump point to the same polling numbers four years ago when Hillary Clinton had substantial leads over Trump.

I can recall one county commissioner often saying "polls" and "signs" don't vote. Times have changed over the years so it will be interesting — to say the least — to see the outcome.

My hope is that when the election is over, the people (no matter which candidate wins) accept the results and be civil.

• • •

One factor that is often overlooked in the upcoming election is the strong possibility that at least two of the Supreme Court justices will retire within the next four years as they are in their 80s. So the president will nominate a successor should that happen.

As you know, the Supreme Court justices have no term limits.

In Pennsylvania, the appellate court judges as well as the county judges must retire at the age of 75.

• • •

State legislation is pending to elect Pennsylvania appellate judges at regional levels rather than statewide. It will take a voter referendum for that to happen and that can't happen (because of regulations) until at least 2021 because the state legislature has to approve such a measure in two sessions.

This is nothing new as it has been discussed for years, but reports are the state Legislature is moving toward that now.

• • •

In the meantime, although many are focused on the upcoming election, at the local level, word is that people are already working on candidates for Meadville City Council and for county commissioner (which won't be for three more years).

Although the election in 2021 will include county treasurer and county clerk of courts, I've heard no reports of candidates except the incumbents.

We will elect a new judge in 2021 as well. At this point, it doesn't appear the governor is going to nominate anybody to fill the vacancy created with the retirement of Judge Anthony Vardaro.

As you may recall, a senior judge is serving the county.

• • •

Local borough councils have to deal with various issues — more than the pandemic. At Linesville, council was discussing the ordinance regarding snow removal of streets. Citing the fact that many home owners are senior citizens, council voiced concern about making the mandates too difficult for seniors.

One suggestion was to have the borough employee do the streets. At the same time, it was noted it is more dangerous to remove all the snow and then ice develops. As discussion continued about seniors snow shoveling, one councilman said, "It doesn't get any easier to shovel," adding he was speaking from personal experience.

Others noted that people could help their neighbor, noting councilman Michael Chance shovels for his neighbors — as does Pete Fizer, the zoning officer.

• • •

It appears county commissioners and the fair board have come to an agreement about property purchased by the fair board years ago and not titled to the county. The county gets the title and the fair gets use of the fair with no charge — providing somebody else has not rented it for that day. Since the fair was canceled, the commissioners have the right to rent the fairgrounds to others during the traditional fair week.

The fair board is looking at trying some other events — such as drive through vendors — on various dates. The key issue now is to make certain those dates are available.

The county has rented Home Show Building 1 for a wedding reception at least once. It is a nice big building with lots of parking and a restroom adjacent to it.

• • •

In the meantime, reports are the State Department of Agriculture has been granted a waiver to allow harness racing at the fairgrounds.

According to the state Web site, harness racing is scheduled for Aug. 6-7 at the county fairgrounds at 2 p.m. Reports are that the county fair board will receive $12,500 from the state to offset some of the costs.

Harness racing was once a huge attraction at the county fairs, but attendance has dwindled in the past 15 years and when the fair had the harness racing, admission was free of charge. So far, there has been no announcement about whether there will be an admission fee.

If so, according to the state guidelines issued last week, attendance would have to be limited to 250 persons and they would have to sit six feet apart.

I'm sure the event would be considered a huge success if 250 people showed up to watch.

Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics. 

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