BUCKS COUNTY >> Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots for everything from Bucks County Commissioner to borough council.
At the county level, party control of Bucks County government is on the line as four candidates vie for the office of county commissioner.
Incumbent Rob Loughery of Bedminster is teaming up with state representative Gene DiGiralamo of Bensalem on the GOP ticket. They are facing incumbent Diane Ellis Marseglia and Falls Township Supervisors Chairman Bob Harvie on the Democratic ticket.
The top three vote getters in the race will win election to office and potentially tip party control of county government.
Also up for grabs are four county row offices - Register of Wills, Treasurer, Clerk of Courts and Coronor - all currently held by Republicans.
The Democrats, after picking up three row offices in 2017, are hoping to expand their influence in county government while the Republicans fight to keep control.
Newtown Township Supervisor Linda Bobrin, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican Don Petrille for the job of Register of Wills.
Incumbent Republican Tom Panzer is facing a challenge by Democrat Kris Ballerini for the job of County Treasurer; incumbent Republican Mary Smithson is facing a challenge from Democrat Brian Monroe for Clerk of Courts; and incumbent Republican Joseph Campbell is facing a challenge from Democrat Meredith Buck for the job of coronor.
Voters will also elect three judges to the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. Running for Judge are Charissa Liller, Jordan Yeager and Jessica L. VanderKam on the Democratic ticket and Denise Bowman, Grace Deon and Allen Toadvine on the Republican ticket.
Another judicial race to watch will play out in Lower Makefield, Yardley and Morrisville boroughs where a Morrisville councilwoman and a Lower Makefield Police Officer are vying for the job of district magistrate.
Attorney Corryn Kronnagel, on the Democratic ticket, and Tom Augustin, on the Republican and Independent ballots, are vying for the position left vacant by the death of Michael Burns in April 2017. Since Burns’ death, Senior judges have been filling the position.
School Board Races
Voters on Tuesday also will elect candidates to their local school boards.
In Council Rock, the only contested race will take place in Region 4 (Northampton Township) where voters will decide between board appointee Joe Hidalgo (R) and Democrat Karl Fetzer.
Running unopposed are board incumbents Mariann McKee in Region 1, Ed Tate III in Region 2, Ed Salamon in Region 5, Michael Thorwart in Region 7 and Kristin Marcell in Region 9.
In the Pennsbury School District, contested races for school board will take place in Regions 2 and 3, including Tullytown Borough, Falls Township and a portion of Lower Makefield Township.
In Region 2, voters will chose three board members from a field of four candidates including incumbents John Palmer and Gary Sanderson, board appointee Sherwood Taylor III and Michael Pallotta.
And in Region 3, voters will decide whether to re-elect Christian Schwartz or send Timothy Watkins to the board.
In Region 1, board President TR Kannan is running unopposed.
In the Neshaminy School District, voters will elect four members to represent their interests on the local school board.
In Region 1, voters will decide between candidates Tina Hollenbach and incumbent Steve Pirritano.
In Region 2, voters will elect two board members from a field of three candidates including Paul Saraullo, Adam Kovitz and Bob Feather.
And in Region 3, Marty Sullivan is running unopposed for a seat on the school board.
Also on Tuesday voters will elect candidates to borough council and township supervisor.
In Lower Makefield, voters will fill two seats on the board of supervisors from a field of four candidates including Democrats Suzanne Blundi and James McCartney and Republicans Jeffrey Hall-Gale and Claire Fischer.
In Newtown Township, voters will fill two seats on the board of supervisors from a field of four candidates, including incumbent Democrats John Mack and Dennis Fisher and Republican challengers TJ Butler and Daniel Boyle.
In Northampton Township, voters will fill two seats on the board of supervisors from a field of four candidates, including incumbent Republicans Barry Moore and Adam Selisker and Democratic challengers Ann Marie Mitchell and Rick Sorensen.
And in Upper Makefield, voters will fill one seat on the board of supervisors from a field of two candidates, including Republican Tim Thomas and Democrat Ben Weldon.
In Newtown Borough, voters will be filling three seats on the borough council, including one in the first ward and two in the second ward.
In the first ward, incumbent Democrat Tara Grunde-McLaughlin faces a challenge from Republican Thomas Dillione.
In the second ward, voters will select two from a field of four candidates including incumbent Republican Kevin McDermott, Republican Charles Adcock and Democrats Susan Turner and Robert Swajkos.
In Yardley Borough, voters will elect three members to borough council from a field of six candidates, including Democrats Kim Segal-Morris, Patrick McGovern and John McCann and Republican incumbents Bryon Marshall and Ryan Berry and former Republican Councilman Dan Mohn. Berry is also running as an independent.
In Bristol Borough, the only contested race is in the North Ward where incumbent councilman Tony Devine, on the ballot as an Independent, faces a challenge from Democrat Danny Pasciullo for a four year seat on borough council.
And in Morrisville Borough, voters will elect four members to the borough council.
In the second ward, voters will elect two from a field of three candidates to borough council. The candidates include Nancy Sherlock, Scott Robinson and incumbent Danielle Larison.
In the third ward, voters will decide whether to re-elect Republican Council President Debbie Smith or to send Democrat Robert Paul to the Council table.
And in the 4th Ward, incumbent Councilman Ted Parker is running unopposed for another term on council.
Election Returns Website Offers First Look at PA Vote Count
The Department of State’s election night returns website will offer up-to-the-minute statewide results on Tuesday night.
“Voters, candidates and the press can find the earliest and most complete picture of the unofficial results of the municipal election at the website,” said Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. “We collaborate with all 67 county election offices to consolidate and post their results as soon as they are available.”
The portal’s users can customize searches, receive timely updates and view results on mobile devices. The site also provides links to each county’s election results website.
Results will be posted on electionreturns.pa.gov as the department receives reports from the counties after the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. Until then, the site will only show test results.
On November 5, Pennsylvania voters will cast ballots for judges and county and local officials. A proposed constitutional amendment on crime victims’ rights, known as Marsy’s Law, also will be on the ballot. Despite a recent ruling that the ballot question results not be immediately certified, voters can still cast their vote on the question, as the courts could later allow the results to be certified.
For complete information about voting in Pennsylvania, visit votesPA.com or call the Department of State’s official election hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772). Interpreters are available.
Voters will also be asked on Nov. 5 to weigh in on Marsy’s Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment, a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.
A “yes” vote supports the measure to add specific rights of crime victims, together known as a Marsy’s Law, to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
A “no” vote opposes the measure to add specific rights of crime victims, together known as a Marsy’s Law, to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
What would this ballot measure change? The ballot measure would add a section addressing crime victims’ rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution Declaration of Rights. The proposed language is modeled on Marsy’s Law, a type of constitutional bill of rights for crime victims.
The ballot measure would provide crime victims with specific constitutional rights, including a right to: be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s safety, dignity, and privacy; proceedings free from unreasonable delay and a prompt and final conclusion of the case; have the safety of the victim and victim’s family considered when setting the bail amount and release conditions for the accused; reasonable and timely notice of public proceedings involving the criminal conduct; be present at public proceedings involving the criminal conduct; be heard at proceedings where a right of the victim is implicated, including release, sentencing, and parole proceedings; receive notice of any pretrial disposition of the case, with the exception of grand jury proceedings; provide information to be considered before the parole of the offender; reasonable protection from the accused and those acting on the behalf of the accused; reasonable notice of the release or escape of the accused; refuse an interview, deposition or other discovery request made by the accused; full and timely restitution from the person or entity convicted; the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence; and confer with the government’s attorney.
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to grant certain rights to crime victims, including to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity; considering their safety in bail proceedings; timely notice and opportunity to take part in public proceedings; reasonable protection from the accused; right to refuse discovery requests made by the accused; restitution and return of property; proceedings free from delay; and to be informed of the rights, so they can enforce them?
• This proposed amendment will increase the legal rights and privileges of victims and their families.
• It will ensure victims and their families are informed when the accused offender is released from custody.
• It will require crime victims be informed of their rights.
• It will protect victims and their families from the accused, or from those assisting the accused.
• The amendment would override state law, eliminating judges’ abilities to weigh the rights of victims and defendants.
• The amendment would alter nine existing provisions of the constitution without submitting each constitutional change separately as a ballot question as required by the PA Supreme Court.
• Victims are already protected by the PA Crime Victims Act of 1998.
• Victims could refuse to be interviewed or to turn over pertinent evidence or testimony.
• Passage would create additional costs and needs on law enforcement, courts and government officials.