Ballot questions give voice to all Pennsylvanians
When voters head to the polls May 18, they’ll see choices for local offices such as school board director, township supervisor and Court of Common Pleas judge. These positions are the elected officials who serve their neighbors at the most direct level in each community, so it is important to vote in a municipal election year like this one.
Voters need to know that in this particular May election they will also be faced with four ballot questions — two of which concern future states of emergencies the Commonwealth may encounter.
The first question would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to give the state Legislature an opportunity to vote to end emergency declarations and restrictions on citizens. In 2020, a majority of lawmakers tried to end the COVID-19 disaster declaration (and related business shutdowns and capacity restrictions), but the governor vetoed our attempt. I voted in favor of putting this question to the voters because I want to ensure legislators’ hands are not similarly tied in the future.
The second question asks whether voters want to amend the state Constitution so that a disaster declaration would expire automatically after 21 days unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency. The governor would not be able to declare a second disaster emergency without a concurrent effort from the legislative branch. I supported this ballot question because those of us in the House and Senate are more directly accountable to the residents of our districts and their wishes. I wanted you, the voter, to not be subject to indefinite disasters unilaterally declared by a governor in the future.
The third and fourth ballot questions, while still important, are unrelated to emergency declarations.
As you may know, primary elections usually allow only registered Republicans and Democrats to vote for members of their parties to send those candidates forward to the November election. However, all registered voters, regardless of affiliation, can make their voices heard and cast ballots on the four questions. I encourage everyone to visit votespa.com to check their registration status and polling place.
State Rep. John Hershey’s 82nd District includes a portion of Mifflin County and all of Juniata County.