May 18th is the PA Municipal Primary Election!

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It’s election season once again! While not as contentious as a presidential election year, there are many local/statewide candidates and ballot questions to be aware of, as these decisions will impact you and your community for years to come. Local elections are just as important, if not more so than presidential elections, since these political leaders will impact your everyday experience (in schools, court rooms, our homes and potentially even the Mayor’s office).

The following information provides details on the voting process (both in-person and by mail), along with links to candidate forums and ballot questions for more context. It’s just as important that you become an informed voter along with being an active voter.

Where can I find information on who/what will be on the ballot?

  • To view your personalized ballot, you can visit Vote411 and enter your address to learn more.
  • For a general overview of this year’s PA election, we’ve created this flyer which covers important dates, explains what a closed primary is, and summarizes the ballot questions that anyone can vote on (regardless of party affiliation).
  • Local and statewide nonprofits have put together a video series of candidate forums that you can watch to become more informed on their issues and positions

What are ballot questions and how can I learn more about them?

In the May 18th Primary, there will be several questions that anyone can vote for/against on the ballot. Every Pennsylvania voter can vote on these questions, whether they’re registered as a member of the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Green Party, or no party at all.

  • Four are statewide questions,
  • One is county-wide, and
  • Three municipalities — Bethel Park, Crescent, and the City of Pittsburgh have an additional ballot question.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh lays out the ballot questions, both in their original wording, as well as providing summaries and resources to understand them further. Click here to learn more about the ballot questions.

Can I vote in-person? How do I return my mail-in ballot?

In-person voting will be taking place on May 18th from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Anyone in line at 8:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Find your polling place here.

A few things to note (from the Allegheny County Elections Division):

  • COVID-19 Mitigation Measures will be in place on Election Day. Voters are asked to wear a face covering, observe physical distancing and to be cognizant of others around you.
  • First-time voters, including individuals are are voting for the first-time at the polling place, will be asked to show an approved form of identification.

Mail-in and absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. You may NOT drop off a voted ballot at the polling place.

Mail-in and absentee ballots can be dropped off at the Elections Office (542 Forbes Avenue, 6th Floor, downtown Pittsburgh). Ballot return is available in the lobby beginning on Wednesday, May 12. Parking spaces will be marked on Forbes Avenue directly in front of the building for voters to just pull up outside and go into the lobby to drop off their ballot. Learn more about mail-in ballots here.

Note: As a publicly-funded institution, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and its employees cannot express opinions, advocate—either actively or passively—for a candidate or cause or try to sway potential voters one way or the other. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, as defined by the IRS, CLP and its employees are prohibited from engaging “in partisan activities, including but not limited to interventions in support or against any candidate for public office.” Our goal is to provide balanced, unbiased information to our community in the form of displays, programs and resources.