With the May 18 primary election just over two weeks away, it has been suggested that voters pay attention to the "special questions" on this year's ballot.

There will be four questions — three of which will amend the constitution, if approved.

The kicker is that the questions can be a bit confusing — even in terms supposedly easy to read. Sometimes they might be difficult to understand.

And, election workers at the polls are forbidden to explain what they mean.

So, it's vital that voters check them out in advance so they don't have to spend a lot of time reading and re-reading them,

One deals with whether the debt limit can be raised for certain ambulance or fire departments.

Another is a constitutional amendment regarding racial or ethnic discrimination.

The other two, both constitutional amendments, refers to issues with declaration of emergencies.

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All registered voters — regardless of party affiliation — can vote on the special questions.

The voting machines are set up to allow only the questions to appear on ballots for voters not registered Republican or Democrat.

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Voting officials are predicting a low turnout — less than 20 percent.

Based on some signs around the city of Meadville, it could be a little higher in the city as there are contested races on the Democratic ticket.

The signs for the candidates vary. One includes three candidates running as a "team." Others include just single members of that "team," but with the same color scheme. And, still others contain only names of candidates who aren't members of the "team."

One interesting tidbit shows signs for three of the candidates not on the announced "team" are seen in several yards.

To political junkies, like me, it is interesting.

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With only two weeks left to campaign, it has been rather quiet.

Of course, other than the city candidates, the only contested county race is for clerk of courts.

Other contested races come down to school boards and those in local elections.

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The state is looking at ways to change election laws. In the opinion of many of us who work at the polls, the best way for people to learn how the system works is to work at the polls once.

Workers are needed and, in my opinion, since it often is a state holiday, some legislators — or county officials — could "volunteer" to be a poll worker. It would give them first-hand knowledge of just what all is entailed.

To be fair, county officials are aware of how the pre-election and post-election works, but might not realize all the little things involved in working the often more than a 15-hour day.

In order to do that, however, the county commissioners (who are the election board) must be at the courthouse in case there is a problem to resolve.

They could appoint somebody to take their place (like when they are on the ballot), but that could be construed as shirking their duties — and rightfully so.

But, the primary would be a good time to learn as it is expected to be a little slower than the general election.

Of course, it would be a good time for anybody who has suspicion of what goes on at the polls to go and sit through the day and learn.

It appears that might have happened last year when many signed up to work at the polls for the presidential election — and then chose not to return this year.

In addition, many previous poll watchers — working on behalf of a candidate — have seen how it works and often have not returned after sitting through a few elections.

At least, that's been what I have seen in Crawford County.

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In the meantime, the political beat goes on.

Many candidates are already raising millions of dollars in advance of the 2022 race for U.S. Senate.

That should liven up next year's primary election!

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

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