WAYNESBORO – Four ballot questions in the May 18 Pennsylvania Primary will have a huge effect on the future of this state and two of them have rather suspicious wording.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the election on First News.
Barkdoll said, “I’m skeptical about questions one and two. These are the ballot initiatives that would limit the governor’s emergency declaration powers. I think all of us agree there needs to be a curtailment of that based on what we’ve seen the past year. My concern is if you really scrutinize the wording of those questions, they are terribly confusing. I think they are worded in such a way that someone’s knee-jerk reaction may be just to vote no.”
The first question reads, verbatim:
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?
“No one’s going to make heads or tails of that,” Barkdoll said. “I think if someone’s not following it, they’re going to vote no. My fear is that both of those first two questions are going to fail because they’re worded in a way that people naturally are going to vote no on. I think the Wolf administration very cleverly through the Department of State, worded these questions in a way that may cause people to naturally vote no. I don’t know that those things are a slam dunk, even though I think most people you ask would agree, yes, we need to have more limits on the governor’s emergency declaration powers.”
Question three would amend the Pennsylvania constitution to include race as protected speech and class.
Barkdoll said, “I think that’s going to pass. I realize there’s thinking vote no on it because leftists are supporting it, but I think when people walk into the booth and see that, they’re going to look at it (and I’m not saying I agree with this) as just an innocuous change to the constitution and they vote yes on it. That’s just my prediction.”
Jansen noted, “It’s not the race word that’s concerning, it’s the word ethnicity that’s concerning. I’ve read on different legal sites where ethnicity can just be described as a group of people with common characteristics. That’s not ethnicity. I’m afraid it’s going to be stretched into that kind of a meaning and that’s why I’m very against that particular amendment and I think it should be voted no.”
Question four allows fire departments and EMS companies to float bonds and incur debt.
“My prediction is that will pass,” Barkdoll said. “I think voters are going to walk in Tuesday, see that as an innocuous issue, even though that also could have real world tax, local fee implications. People need to be a little careful with that one as well.”
Jansen said, “I’m afraid that these things will end up being…the first two won’t pass, the third one will pass and the fourth one will pass and I’m saying vote yes, yes, no, no. I don’t understand how it’s legal for them to put in wording that makes it look opposite to what it is. How is that allowing the voter to have a clear understanding of what they’re actually voting on? Which is significant. This is an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution. I don’t understand how that can’t be challenged in court. How is that legal?”
Barkdoll said, “It would be interesting to hear from some of our local state Reps. I certainly don’t blame them for the wording of these questions, but something I’ve wondered for years and no one’s been able to answer – can someone tell me who in the Department of State is drafting these words? There’s got to be a bureaucrat somewhere that is crafting this language and I don’t know why the General Assembly can’t do a more effective job at reigning this in. These ought to be worded in a more plain English fashion that people should be able to understand. Why isn’t there more of a reform effort to reform the way these ballot initiatives are worded in the first place?”
We hope you head to the polls on Tuesday and vote yes, yes, no, no on these incredibly important ballot questions.