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May 18th Ballot Questions for Voters

There are four statewide questions on the May 18th ballot for voters.

  • Three ballot questions are about proposing amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  • The fourth question is a referendum about expanding the state’s loan program to volunteer and municipal fire departments as well as EMS non-profits.
  • A long-time rumored “Judicial Gerrymandering” amendment will not be on the ballot. 
  • Independents, non-affiliated voters and members of minor parties can vote on the ballot questions in the primary election and are encouraged to do so. They will not be able to vote for primary candidates for either the Democratic or Republican party. 

Two of the amendment ballot questions involve giving the Legislature more say and the governor less say in determining the extension or termination of disaster emergency declarations. These two questions stem from the Republican-led Legislature’s frustration in trying to force Governor Tom Wolf to end the COVID pandemic limitations, but if approved they become part of the state Constitution forever, regardless of who  the governor is or which party controls the Legislature. The third amendment would add a provision guaranteeing that one’s rights under the law cannot be denied because of race or ethnicity.


PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 1 is about Eliminating Disaster Declarations by the Governor – VOTE NO

“Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration—and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration—through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval?” 

Here are the reasons why we recommend voting NO: 

  • This will severely limit the Governor — and any future governor — of the ability to keep our Commonwealth safe from disasters.
  • When disasters strike and lives are at stake, we do not have time to wait for 253 politicians in Harrisburg to have a political debate. We need the Governor to act quickly and decisively.
  • This amendment may undo all the progress made on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 or any other future crisis.
  • It may also leave PA as the only state in the country without an emergency plan in place for COVID-19.
  • Disasters are NOT political, and should NOT be subject to a political process.
  • Note: 1981 was the last year Pennsylvanians rejected a constitutional amendment! Voters prefer saying yes rather than no. We will have our work cut out for us if we are to defeat this ballot resolution.

For more information click here.


PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 2  is about Stripping Emergency Powers from the Governor – VOTE NO

“Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law so that: a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency; the Governor may not declare a new disaster emergency to respond to the dangers facing the Commonwealth unless the General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution; the General Assembly enacts new laws for disaster management?” 

Here are the reasons we recommend voting NO!

  • This strips the Governor — and any future governor — of the ability to keep our Commonwealth safe from disasters.
  • Disasters do not have a time limit. It is impossible to predict how or how long the impacts of a disaster will affect any one community.
  • This again subjects disaster emergency declarations to the political winds. We are all Pennsylvanians and when any Pennsylvania community is hit with a disaster, all of us share their pain.
  • This amendment may undo all the progress made on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 or any other future crisis.
  • Note: 1981 was the last year Pennsylvanians rejected a constitutional amendment! Voters prefer saying yes rather than no. We will have our work cut out for us if we are to defeat this ballot resolution.

For more information click here.


PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 3 is about Racial Equality  – VOTE YES

“Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended by adding a new section providing that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of an individual’s race or ethnicity?” 

Here are the reasons we recommend voting YES!

  • This amendment creates a constitutional prohibition against restricting or denying an individual’s equal rights under Pennsylvania law because of race or ethnicity.
  • This amendment applies to all Pennsylvania state, county and local governmental entities, and guarantees equality of rights under the law.
  • If approved, the General Assembly may pass new laws to implement the amendment, but it may not pass a law inconsistent with it.

For more information click here. Read analysis by the ACLU and why they support voting Yes to Amendment 3 here.


THE STATEWIDE REFERENDUM QUESTION is about Making Municipal Fire & Emergency Medical Services Companies Eligible for Loans – VOTE YES

“Do you favor expanding the use of the indebtedness authorized under the referendum for loans to volunteer fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads under 35 PA.C.S. Section 7378.1 (related to referendum for additional indebtedness) to include loans to municipal fire departments or companies that provide services through paid personnel and emergency medical services companies for the purpose of establishing and modernizing facilities to house apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, and for purchasing apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, protective and communications equipment and any other accessory equipment necessary for the proper performance of the duties of the fire companies and emergency medical services companies?

For more information click here.

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