Before you head to the polls on Nov. 7, The Daily Pennsylvanian has assembled a comprehensive ballot guide detailing everything you need to know before you vote — from polling locations at Penn, a run-down on the open offices, and the candidates running to serve as Philadelphia’s 100th mayor.
How can I see if I am registered to vote?
In Pennsylvania, the final day to register to vote in this election was Oct. 23, and the last day to request a mail-in or absentee ballot was Oct. 31. Voters that are unsure about their voting status can check to verify that they are registered to vote on the Pennsylvania Department of State website.
When can I vote?
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Where can I vote?
Students who live in the Kings Court English, Lauder, or Hill college houses; Sansom Place East or West; or Domus can vote in ARCH Room 108 at 3601 Locust Walk.
Students who live in the Quad, Harnwell, Stouffer, Gregory, Harrison, Rodin, Du Bois, or Gutmann college houses or the Axis, the Chestnut, the Radian, Chestnut Hall, Hamilton Court, the Hub, or at 3737 Chestnut can vote in Houston Hall at 3417 Spruce St.
Students who live in The Simon at Founder’s Row can vote at Paul Robeson High School, located at 4125 Ludlow St.
Students can check the location of their polling place on Penn Leads the Vote’s website.
Who are the candidates on the ballot?
Philadelphia will choose between Republican David Oh and Democrat Cherelle Parker to become the city’s 100th mayor.
David Oh, who previously served as an at-large member of the Philadelphia City Council, ran uncontested for the Republican nomination in the primary. According to his campaign website, his top issues are enforcing crime and public safety measures, education reform and parental rights in schooling, and increasing economic activity through deregulation. He was endorsed in the primary by the Penn College Republicans, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) who represents Western and Central Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Republican Party.
Oh recently spoke at a College Republicans event, where he called Penn a “fantastic institution” and said he would tax the University if elected mayor.
Cherelle Parker, who received her master’s degree in public administration from Penn’s Fels Institute of Government in 2016, is a former City Councilmember who resigned to run for mayor. According to her campaign website, her top issues are comprehensive neighborhood safety through increasing the police force, year-round schooling, raising the minimum wage to $17.53, and making the city cleaner and greener. Parker is endorsed by Reps. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), and numerous trade organizations.
Parker previously told the DP that she is committed to engaging with Penn to help eliminate city-wide poverty and create a safer and cleaner city.
Parker won the Democratic primary for mayor in May, earning 33% of the votes,.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the highest court in the Commonwealth. The Court, comprised of seven justices, is responsible for interpreting Pennsylvania state laws to make judgments on legal decisions. Democrat Daniel McCaffery and Republican Carolyn Carluccio are running for a seat that became vacant after the death of Chief Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, last fall.
McCaffery — who recently spoke to the Penn Democrats about his campaign — has been a judge on the Pennsylvania Superior Court since 2019 and was previously a prosecutor for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in the 1990s, where he worked for six years, and later a justice on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. He is “highly recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association and is endorsed by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC, VoteProChoice, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and United States Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
Carluccio currently serves as a judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, where she was first elected in 2009. She was previously an assistant U.S. attorney in Delaware for a decade before becoming the chief public defender of Montgomery County and chief deputy solicitor for Montgomery County. She is endorsed by the Pennsylvania Republican Party and the PA Pro-Life Federation.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court is one of the commonwealth’s two intermediate appellate courts, composed of 15 judges, that handles cases appealed from lower courts. There are four candidates — two Democrats and two Republicans — running for two seats. Additionally, two current judges are seeking retention to serve another 10-year term; voters will choose “yes” or “no” for these two judges.
Jill Beck, a Democrat, is a Pittsburgh-based attorney who previously clerked for Judge Christine Donohue on the state Supreme and Superior Courts. She ran for Superior Court in 2021 but lost in the primary. She is endorsed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC, among other trade organizations. Beck is “highly recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Timika Lane, a Democrat, has served as a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas since 2013. She previously clerked for Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. She ran for Superior Court in 2021 but lost in the general election. She is also endorsed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC, among other trade organizations. Lane is “highly recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Maria Battista, a Republican, is a Pennsylvania Resident from Clarion County who has served as assistant general counsel for the health and state departments for two former governors. She left the Department of Defense to run for office. She is endorsed by the Pennsylvania Republican Party. Battista is not recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, after she declined to participate in their judicial evaluation process.
Henry Smail, a Republican, has been a judge on the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas since 2014, when he was appointed by former governor Tom Corbett. He has worked as a private practice attorney and ran unsuccessfully for multiple county offices. According to Ballotopedia, he is a member of the National Rifle Association. Smail was “recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
In addition to the four candidates running for the two open seats on the bench, there are two current Superior Court judges seeking retention for another 10-year term. Voters will choose “yes” or “no” for each judge.
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court is one of the state’s two intermediate appellate courts and is comprised of nine judges. Two candidates are running for one seat on the court’s bench.
Matt Wolf, a Democrat, has been a judge on the Philadelphia Municipal Court since 2017. He previously worked as a trial attorney for 25 years and was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and worked as a legal advisor to the Army. He is “recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association and endorsed by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC, and VoteProChoice.
Megan Martin, a Republican, is a Cumberland County resident who was previously secretar and parliamentarian of the Pennsylvania Senate. She worked as an attorney for former governors Corbett and Tom Ridge and the U.S. Navy. She is “recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association and endorsed by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.
Philadelphia voters will choose “yes” or “no” on one ballot question, which asks whether the City should have a permanent Office for People with Disabilities. The office advocates for and provides support to people with disabilities, who compose about 17% of the city’s population, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
A “yes” vote will establish the permanency of the office, while a “no” vote opposes a permanent Office for People with Disabilities within the city government.
Seven members of the City Council serve at large, which means that they represent all of Philadelphia. The Council’s most prominent role is passing the city budget, establishing tax rates and fiscal spending levels. Voters may choose up to five candidates who will serve four-year terms. The five Democrats running are expected to win, making the remaining two seats up for grabs between the remaining four candidates — two Republicans and two members of the Working Families Party — according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Democrat Isaiah Thomas has served one term on the Council and is known for penning the City’s Driving Equality Legislation, banning traffic stops for low-level incidents known to target Black drivers, in 2021.
Democrat Katherine Gilmore Richardson has served one term in Council and previously worked in City Hall. She notably proposed legislation to implement a permanent 10 p.m. curfew for any person under the age of 18 as a way to keep children safe during the gun violence crisis.
Democrat Rue Landau is running for Council and has long been an activist, working with groups like the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and ACT UP Philadelphia to provide housing and health care for low-income individuals throughout the City. If she wins, she would become the first openly LGBTQ member of Council.
“Whether it was representing tenants who are same-sex couples or transgender people who were facing eviction, it was very important to me that I was a member of the [LGBTQ] community,” Landau previously told the DP.
Democrat Jim Harrity first won office in a special election last year. He was previously an Auditor in the City Controller’s Office and the Political Director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. He lives in Kensington and has made substance abuse central to his time in Council.
Democrat Nina Ahmad is a scientist who ran unsuccessfully twice for political office. She ran for lieutenant governor in 2018 and for auditor general in 2020. Previously, Ahmad served as deputy mayor for public engagement under current Mayor Jim Kenney.
Republican Jim Hasher is a former ward leader and a real estate broker running for his first term in Council. He is a supporter of the 76ers arena in Center City and is president of the Torresdale Boys Club.
Republican Drew Murray left the Democratic Party in 2018 and is focused on repealing the City’s Soda Tax, reforming the Real Estate Tax, and lowering the Wage Tax, according to his campaign website.
Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks is running for re-election to Council as the most progressive member. She recently spoke at an October rally organized by Graduate Employees Together University of Pennsylvania-UAW and attended Penn Dems’ roundtable event on Oct. 25. Brooks said her campaign is dedicated to finishing what she has started as an incumbent, including expanding access to high quality schools.
Working Families Candidate Nicolas O’Rourke is running for Council after losing in 2019. He also attended Penn Dems’ roundtable and explained that his campaign is focused on reducing crime, combating climate change, and investing in local communities.
Philadelphia’s 10 district councilmembers represent geographic areas that are approximately equal in population. Penn is located in District 3, and voters will choose whether Democrat Jamie Gauthier, who first won in 2019 after beating a 28-year incumbent, will win re-election. She does not face a Republican challenger, but instead is up against Jabari Jones, who is running as a member of a third party he created called the West is Best Party.
Gauthier, who graduated from Penn in 2004 with a master’s in city planning from the School of Design, made headlines after the settlement of a lawsuit filed by IBID Associates Limited Partnership — the developers of the University City Townhomes property — against Gauthier and the City of Philadelphia. Under the settlement agreement, Penn will fund support services for the tenants of the UC Townhomes.
She is focused on addressing the gun violence crisis, expanding affordable housing access, and improving quality of life, according to her website.
At 28 years old, Jones is poised to be the youngest-ever member of the Philadelphia City Council if elected. He is focused on quality education, affordable housing, and safe communities, according to his campaign website.
Other Municipal Races
The City Commissioners are a three-member bipartisan board tasked with overseeing elections and voter registration in Philadelphia. Two seats are held by Democrats, while the third seat is reserved for the non-majority party. All three incumbents — Democrat Lisa Deeley, Democrat Omar Sabir, and Republican Seth Bluestein — are running for re-election to another four-year term. Voters can choose up to two candidates to vote for out of the three.
The City Controller is the chief auditor of the City of Philadelphia and the School District and is also responsible for serving on numerous boards and city agency committees. Voters may choose one candidate to serve a four-year term. There are no term limits.
Democrat Christy Brady became Acting City Controller after then-Controller Rebecca Rhynhart resigned to run for the Democratic mayoral primary. She has worked in the Controller’s Office for nearly 30 years and is endorsed by the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee and the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, among other trade organizations.
Republican Aaron Bashir told the Committee of Seventy that his top priority is fiscal transparency and has worked as a financial accountant for the City for 10 years.
Register of Wills
The Register of Wills is tasked with issuing marriage licenses and keeping marriage records, probating wills, enforcing inheritance taxes, and maintaining the dockets of the Orphan’s Court. Voters may choose one candidate to serve a four-year term. There are no term limits.
Democrat John Sabatina had his party’s support during the May primary to defeat incumbent Tracey Gordon. With a career in real estate law, he wrote on his campaign website how he’s committed to upholding high levels of professionalism and to improving the services offered through the role.
Republican Linwood Holland does not have a fully-functional campaign website but included that he served in the U.S. Navy.
The Office of the Sheriff is responsible for providing safety for those entering Philadelphia courtrooms — including judges, juries, defendants, and the public — and is also responsible for court-ordered property foreclosures. Voters may choose one candidate to serve a four-year term. There are no term limits.
Democrat Rochelle Bilal is running for re-election to a second term. In 2022, her office enforced a court ruling to remove the encampment protest against the University City Townhomes. Led by Bilal, she vacated the area of tents within an hour. She is the department’s first elected woman and is a 27-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, according to the Sheriff’s website.