The Phoenix

Participat­ion in primary is essential

Polls will open Tuesday as Pennsylvan­ians vote in the long-awaited primaries for the 2022 midterm elections. We urge registered Democrats and Republican­s to make their voices heard.


It’s a big deal any time there’s a vote for major statewide offices such as governor and U.S. senator. But this year the stakes are even higher because of an unusual situation. There’s no incumbent in either race. Gov. Tom Wolf cannot run for a third term, and Sen. Pat Toomey decided not to seek reelection.

The opportunit­y to run for an open seat was too much for many politician­s to resist.

Just about anyone who watches commercial television or uses the internet should be aware that there are some hotly contested races with crowded fields this year. There has been a flood of advertisin­g for and against many candidates.

It’s probably asking too much to suggest people ignore these messages that are so ubiquitous, but we strongly caution against basing decisions solely on what’s said in commercial­s. Advertisin­g only tells you the things that candidates and political organizati­ons want you to hear. There’s usually more to the story. Study the candidates on your own before casting a vote. That will offer a clearer picture of the field and help you become familiar with candidates who haven’t been advertisin­g heavily but may be of interest.

There certainly is a lot for voters to consider, especially on the Republican side.

Nine people are running for the GOP nomination for governor, and seven Republican­s are seeking the party’s nod for U.S. Senate. Some other notable Republican races are crowded, too, including nine running for lieutenant governor and four people seeking to challenge U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan in the 6th Congressio­nal District.

Democrats have some choices to make as well, most notably in the Senate race, where four people are contending for the party’s nomination. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the lone Democratic candidate for governor, while three people are seeking to be on the ticket with him as the nominee for lieutenant governor.

And don’t overlook races for state legislativ­e seats. Every state House seat is up for grabs this year along with half of the Senate seats. The results of such races have greatly affected the balance of power in states across the country. For as much attention as races for governor get, control of the House and Senate is just as important.

When studying up on candidates, make sure you know in which districts you reside. This is the first election since the latest round of redistrict­ing .The lines have changed in congressio­nal and state House and Senate districts. Many voters in our region are likely to see some unfamiliar names on the ballot in at least one of those races. Berks County in particular has seen some notable changes to all three maps.

If you’re not sure, check with your county election office or look for informatio­n on ballots for each voting precinct on the county election website. If you’re not sure where to vote or how to contact your county election office, there’s useful informatio­n on those subjects at vote.

We’re well aware that people hear this message year after year from us and many others. We know that there’s widespread cynicism about the power of elections to produce the kind of change people want to see. But the fact is that at a time when so many important things seem to be out of our control, this is the one time all American citizens get a say.

Our nation, state and communitie­s are facing great challenges. Tuesday gives us the opportunit­y to decide who will have a chance to lead the way in addressing them. People who wait until November may not like the choices presented to them on the ballot. Those who vote now get to have a say on which names appear there. Seize the opportunit­y.

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