Election Day is coming – make sure your voice heard.

Did you know there is an important election right around the corner?

Did you know there is an important election right around the corner?  

That’s right, on November 7 Philadelphia voters will decide who will be our next mayor and who will serve on Philadelphia City Council.  But in addition to electing local officials, voters will also be choosing judges for many of the state’s courts. 

Sometimes judicial elections get less attention than executive and legislative positions and can even fly under the radar. But every election matters. And each election gives voters an opportunity to exercise their right and share their voice.  

In November, Pennsylvanians will select a new Supreme Court justice and new judges to sit on the state’s Commonwealth and Superior courts. While you may not hear about the role of these state-level courts every day, they make important decisions that can have long-term impact on our community. 

For instance, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is the ultimate authority on issues brought before lower courts, hearing appeals from lower courts' decisions or intervening in lower courts' proceedings. In the past decade the Supreme Court has weighed in on important topics like mail-in voting and the state’s congressional maps. 

Pennsylvania’s appellate courts - the Commonwealth Court and Superior Court - also make decisions that impact life in our community. 

Just this year, the Commonwealth Court decided a case that found Pennsylvania’s school funding system was unconstitutional – which will have major impacts on communities around the state for generations.  

The Superior Court is the busiest appellate court in the state and makes decisions in cases that can be felt on the day-to-day lives of Pennsylvanians. It covers issues from criminal and family law to business or contract disputes to personal injury and property or real estate disputes, and more.  

Further, judges elected to seats on these state courts serve 10-year terms, so once elected they serve longer than most other elected positions, like a mayor or a state representatuve. Plus afterr their initial 10-year term, they seek additional terms in "retention" elections, where they don't have an opponent, but voters make a "yes" or "no" choice.

The result is that whoever wins November's election, has the ability to be in office for a long time, and make consequential decisions on some of the biggest issues impacting Pennsylvania.

There is still time to learn more about the candidates for these important positions.

Don't forget the last day to register to vote in November's election is Oct. 23.

And mail-in voting is still allowed in Pennsylvania (thanks to a PA Supreme Court decision!). If you choose to vote by mail, you’ll need to request your ballot by Oct. 31, and your completed ballot must be received by the county election office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Finally, there is more good news for Pennsylvania! The commonwealth just joined nearly two dozen other states–including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia –with automatic voter registration. The governor issued an executive order to have Pennsylvania citizens automatically be prompted to register to vote when applying for or renewing a driver's license or state ID card.

This change will improve accuracy of our voter rolls and make it easier for eligible Pennsylvanians to register.  Overall, this move is great for our state because the more people who participate in our elections, the more representative our government is, and the more resilient our democracy will be.

For more information on the upcoming election and other Pennsylvania elections, visit vote.pa.gov.

PA Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton represents the 191st House District, which includes portions of Philadelphia and Delaware County.