As predicted by some, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed election reform legislation approved by the House and Senate.
The legislation contains the provision eliminating the straight party button on voting machines or paper ballots. Currently, Pennsylvania is only one of nine states that still allow straight party voting.
In the past, straight party voting often carried a lot of weight. In fact, in a nearby county, one party had 60 percent of its voters who voted straight party one election, according to records. Crawford County records were not readily available to quote, but if memory serves me right, the party votes were usually fairly consistent for both parties.
Opponents of the bill said it would be harder for minorities and women to vote. One person said it will take longer if people have to vote seven or eight different times.
In the past, doing tabulations, tabulators often would find a straight party ballot and then have to go back and correct it. The voter had first voted straight party and then on the ballot itself cast a vote for a member of the other party. That voids the straight party vote, but the votes are counted separately for those choices.
At the same time, some people don’t understand straight party voting — often saying in the primary election they just want to “vote straight party.” Officials then have to explain they are voting for the same party — just different candidates.
It is unknown if there is sufficient support to override Wolf's veto.
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Another factor in the past that often relates to votes is where a candidate's name appears on the ballot. For example, if three people were running for two seats, often voters would just choose the first or last name. Past political officials have said the first place name often accounted for 10 percent of the vote. In a close election, that could make a difference.
Personally, I think that may no longer be the case.
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The 2020 election will be about more than the presidential election. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has already announced his candidacy for Congress. His office is one of five state offices which carry term limits: auditor general, attorney general, treasurer, governor and lieutenant governor.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is expected to run for re-election. His most recent accomplishment was getting an agreement between the UPMC and Highmark insurance companies. State Treasurer Joe Torsella also is expected to run again.
Nina Ahmad of Pittsburgh, who finished second in her bid for the Democratic lieutenant governor nomination last year against John Fetterman, is reportedly going to run for auditor general.
I've heard no Republican names for any of those races yet.
Perhaps some may surface by the time the Crawford County Fair opens as many candidates make that a campaign stop.
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Fetterman, who was a popular candidate, is taking heat this week after a heated debate in the Senate when he presided as lieutenant governor.
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Although the fall campaign is months off, some county candidates are already campaigning across the county, visiting businesses and organizations. Candidates always have to walk a fine line — campaign early and often while risking the possibility of people getting upset or waiting and risking losing some potential votes!
With the upcoming election for county commissioner and county sheriff as well as register and recorder all having "open" seats, they are sure to attract a lot of voters. An "open seat" is described as when the incumbent is not seeking re-election.
In the case of the register and recorder, although the incumbent is not seeking re-election, the deputy is the Republican candidate for that office.
Nobody ever said running for public office was easy!
Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.