November 7 – Today is Election Day and YOUR efforts are critical.
These November elections that are not a presidential election year often have remarkably low turnout for votes, but these are some of the elections that could have REAL impacts on your life.
School board races, county commissioner races, borough council member races and township supervisor races will put people in seats who are deciding policies that will affect YOU directly.
In addition, there are judicial races in Pennsylvania courts where serious decisions will be made that will absolutely mean something to YOUR life.
Let’s make the turnout great today – get out and vote.
The numbers are normally between 15 and 25 percent on this day. Let’s make that higher.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll predicted, “I would say maybe 23 to 25 range. Historically that’s about where it lands in these off-year elections. Now there’s a lot of money being spent statewide, particularly these judicial candidates. They are spending a fortune and some of that is to get out the vote messaging. Might that tick it up a point or two?”
The weather is definitely on the side of getting people out to vote. It’s supposed to reach a high of 70 degrees today.
Barkdoll said, “Political scientists will say, as strange as that may sound, that often will be a factor in motivating some people who otherwise would not vote, to go out to the polls if it’s a nice sunny day.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “That should certainly benefit Republicans more because Republicans do better on the day of voting.”
What could the turnout be in Franklin County?
Barkdoll suggested, “We do have some contested races in local pockets here. We have some contested township supervisor, borough council and school board races. I do think that’ll juice the turnout in those local areas. Locally in Franklin County, maybe we get up into the mid to upper 20s. I certainly don’t see it going much beyond that. By the way statewide, going into yesterday, you alluded to the mail in ballots, I think the latest number I saw is that there are roughly 700,000 mail in votes that have been cast in Pennsylvania as of yesterday. Now that number will tick up a little more. But roughly that’s where it’s going to be this year.”
Jansen said, “We’ve had a lot of contention over that, the mail in ballots, and how they’re done, a lot of things during COVID, that we still need I think to work through before the 2024 election. People think these off year elections are not worthwhile, not worth my time. I talked to a person I really admire yesterday who said, well, what are legislators doing? But then who are we voting for? I mean, how can we possibly yell and scream and cry about what’s being done with our Republican legislators if you don’t get out and actually vote in the best people that will do, and I know this person would, but encourage your friends, encourage your family because if anything, the impacts of this election I think are greater maybe even than the presidential election. When you have school board directors and we have a big fight right now over whether we should have parental rights. It seems like Democrats are leaning more towards government control over what’s taught in schools, whereas Republicans are leaning more towards wait a minute, parents have a right to either know or how about we get some vouchers? How about we let parents have a choice? That’s more in the Republican camp.”
Barkdoll agreed, “Arguably these local races, when you’re talking about a school board or a supervisor or a borough council, they are probably affecting more things in your day to day life than even these national offices because think about it. They’re setting local policy, that includes taxes that you’re paying on your real estate and they’re of course, just creating the environment in which your community operates, whether that’s from a school educational standpoint, or whether that’s things like snow removal, trash pickup, all of the local services that would go with local government. So these things are of just critical importance and I would add to your list, these judiciary races, I realize they don’t get a lot of attention. No one can identify who any of your state appellate court judges are for the most part, but when you have these votes and decisions coming down from the state commonwealth and superior courts, the state Supreme Court, that vastly affects everyone in Pennsylvania and there’s just not much attention, there’s not enough attention paid to those races.”
The polls are open until 8 p.m. tonight.
Congressman John Joyce urged, “I want everyone to hear loud and clear from me, get out and vote. It’s so important. From the school boards, which are so important, county commissioners, our new DA, to be able to have four good Republican candidates statewide. Great candidates, great Republicans, who exemplify our conservative common sense views. These are qualified individuals that we desperately need to see elected today. We need to make sure that we’re electing strong defenders of the constitution. We need to make sure that we’re electing judges who apply the law as it is written, not as liberal activists want it to be written, and judges who will help restore a balance and trust to our judicial bench. It is very important to get these conservative candidates across the finish line.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “We’ll pay some attention to the races. We’ll start with the school board here. State Representative Rob Kaufman in heavy support for Stephanie Harbaugh, the Republican, despite what the Public Opinion would print about Stephanie Harbaugh. Lorile Greenblatt and Carl McKee and the write-in candidate, Joan Smith, all of those folks in the race for school board. When you’ve got on the other side of the camp here, some folks that are thinking, oh, just put Mike and Mike up on a couple of signs here. These are the people that could have a direct impact, will have a direct impact, on your kids, on their education, on budgeting, all of these things, and to just shrug off a sign vote for Mike. That speaks volumes.”
Jansen said, “Pay attention to where you vote and how much of a difference that can make. If you are in Guilford 3 or Greene 1, that’s voting in New Franklin Community Building and Fayetteville Church of God. Greene 4, Fayetteville Volunteer Fire Company, go vote Carl McKee. Carl McKee currently sits in a different seat but goes and votes for him. Stephanie Harbaugh, vote for her over Michael Boryan if you want parents to have more choice, and Lorile Greenblatt is especially important and that’s on the left side of the 5-2 Chambersburg Baptist Church and school district administration building in 2-2. Very important that you get out and vote for these people. By the way, Stephanie Gouss, she’s running cross-filed, but she is a Democrat. She’s the only one in Region 8.”
Ryan said, “These are important races that we watch on the school board.”
Click on the link below this article to get a sample ballot for Franklin County.
Barkdoll said, “That will pull up your sample ballot if you want to see what the ballot looks like before you go in and vote today. Remember, there’s no more straight ticket voting in Pennsylvania. That was part of that Act 77 that ushered in mail in voting which was done in advance of COVID. So you can’t just go in and click a box anymore and say that’s every Republican or every Democrat on the ballot. Getting back to the school board races and I’m not very familiar with any of these candidates, personally. I did meet many of them at that forum a few weeks ago, but there are obviously some challenges in the Chambersburg School District. Remember a few weeks ago the stat was there were over 100 vacancies the night of that forum. That tells me there are issues. We know of the issues earlier this year with the cyber hack and some of the things that have stemmed from that. So I do think this is an example of a race that will generate locally some higher turnout. Some of these board members are campaigning very hard, very actively, door to door, running ads. Remember to take a step back. School board candidates are volunteers, so you talk about thankless work. I mean, anyone that’s running and wants to serve in those roles, they’re not getting a dime out of this. Anyone running, they’re truly doing it out of an interest in these issues. It’s good to see that we do have that many people that are wanting to run and serve for that office.”
Jansen said, “Let me put a disclaimer on what I said that I’m talking about if you’re looking at parental rights as your focus, that’s my opinion, my personal opinion on the school board candidates.”
Ryan said, “I would also start it off with the fact that it was Rob Kauffman also in support of those three candidates and the write-in Joan Smith.”
The Franklin County Commissioners race includes Dean Horst, John Flannery, Bob Ziobrowski and Cameron Schroy.
Barkdoll said, “Dean Horst and John Flannery will undoubtedly win, just based on voter registration numbers. It’s the top three of those four. There could be some action on that third position. Is it the incumbent Bob Ziobrowski or is it Cameron Schroy? Cameron Schroy has run an active campaign. He’s done a lot of door knocking, a lot of voter outreach. Bob Ziobrowski has done virtually nothing until I believe a few weeks ago. I noticed Bob was at the legislative breakfast a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been seeing his signs up, so he was maybe a little late to get engaged in the campaigning, but it does seem like he has done that. Now certainly he has a lot of incumbency advantages being the incumbent but of those four, the Ziobrowski/Schroy matchup, that will be the one to keep an eye on tonight. Is there a chance that Cameron Schroy flips that seat and would essentially defeat Bob Ziobrowski? Everyone in office should always run like they’re behind, even if they are an incumbent. That Democratic seat, though, is really peculiar and this is a quirk in Pennsylvania law. You must have a minority party on that panel. That third place position will win with a fraction of the votes that the first and second place vote getters receive and historically, that incumbent Democrat if they choose to run, routinely get reelected, but again, of the candidates that Bob Ziobrowski has run with over the years, they claim to run as a team, even though they know they both can’t win, Cameron Schroy I think has run a more active campaign than any of the previous candidates running for that Democratic seat. So that’ll be an interesting number to watch tonight.”
In the State Supreme Court race it’s Republican Carolyn Carluccio and Democrat Daniel McCaffery.
Barkdoll said, “This is the vacancy, people may remember Chief Justice Max Baer died earlier in the year and that’s what has created this vacancy. So the Democrats currently have a 4-2 majority on the Supreme Court and this would now be seat number seven. These two are spending a fortune. Both of them are from the Philadelphia area. Carluccio is a Montgomery County judge. McCaffrey is a Philadelphia judge. The latest numbers I saw are that just in this race alone, they will spend over $20 million. If you watch any local television at night, every ad involves these two. McCaffrey very much is running on a pro abortion rights position. All of his ads are just riddled with all kinds of things about upholding abortion rights. Carluccio seems to be running more as a tough on crime judge, saying that she wants to keep a tough on crime position and of course we know from polling, both of those issues in their own way are very popular with voters. That’s going to be a really close race tonight.”
The PA Superior Court race is Republicans Maria Battista and Harry Smail and Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane.
Ryan noted, “Remember Franklin County, Jill Beck’s got a thin skin on her. She shut down any kind of response or any kind of questioning on social media. Now she can do that as a candidate. But if she’s got that much of a thin skin to not be able to handle some questions about oh, I see you’re running around the countryside doing some fundraising. But she has to shut us down because of that. Make sure you send a loud signal out of the area here to Jill Beck that it takes a thick skin, it takes a backbone in which to do the job of Superior Court.”
Barkdoll said, “These are two vacant seats. Beck and Lane actually ran for superior court in 2021 and lost. Beck formally clerked for the State Superior and Supreme Courts. She’s a private practice lawyer in Pittsburgh. She is not a judge. Lane is a Philadelphia Common Pleas judge and then on that Republican ticket, Harry Smail, he’s a Westmoreland County Judge. Maria Battista is a private practice lawyer from Clarion County. We should also say before we leave this discussion, there is also a vacant seat on your ballot, Commonwealth Court and that involves a Democrat named Matt Wolf. He’s also a Philadelphia area judge and he’s running against someone named Megan Martin. She’s a private lawyer. I think interestingly though, she was the parliamentarian of the Pennsylvania Senate for many years and she’s from Cumberland County. She has somewhat of a local connection here.”
Jansen said, “I just wish the judges would stick to interpreting the law. There shouldn’t even be an argument about abortion when you think about it, all they have to do is follow the law as written. Legislators make the difference about whether we’re going to change our laws on abortion, not judges. So for them to even make that case makes me think they’re not going to follow their constitutional regulated boundaries of what they do as judges.”
Ryan added, “And that Biden Democrat Dan McCaffrey is counting on the population not to understand it. He’s counting on corralling the stupid.”
Barkdoll pointed out, “This race is getting national attention, by the way, because of the abortion issue. That’s why you have observers all over the country, does this issue still have resonance that would translate into someone winning a state Supreme Court race? We will know by about 10 or 11 o’clock tonight.”
The sample ballot for Franklin County is here: https://franklincountypa.gov/index.php?section=voter-registration_precinct-info