How to Vote in the Primary Election on Tuesday, May 21

By Clare F. RSS Thu, May 16, 2019

Philadelphians: it’s time to make your voting plans for the 2019 Pennsylvania primary election, which will be held this coming Tuesday, May 21!

The Free Library is here to help you vote, in more ways than one. Here’s an overview of important information.

What’s on the ballot?

  • Primary elections for the Philadelphia mayoral race.
  • Primary elections for City Council members.
  • Primary elections for City Commissioners.
  • Primary elections for Philadelphia’s sheriff.
  • Primary elections for two open seats on the state Superior Court, which is responsible for civil and criminal appeals from county courts.
  • Various special elections.

What’s on my ballot?

  • Use this digital ballot tool created by the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan Philadelphia-based advocacy group, to see exactly what will be on your particular ballot.
  • The tool will use your address and your party affiliation to provide you with a mock-up of your ballot and where candidates stand on the issues.

Who can vote?

  • Registered members of a political party can vote in that party’s primary elections. If you are not registered with a party, you are not eligible to vote in any of the primary elections, though if your district is holding any special elections, you may vote in these. (The deadline to submit or change party affiliation was April 22.)
  • Not sure whether you’re registered or if you're affiliated with a party? Find out here.

Where and when can I vote?

What do I need to bring?

  • If it is your first time voting in your current division, you need to bring an acceptable form of ID. Many kinds of ID are accepted, including valid student IDs, utility bills, and paychecks. View the full list of acceptable forms of ID.
  • Voted before in your current division? Great. You do not need to bring anything with you.

Why should I vote in the primaries?

  • Voting is an important form of political and civic participation. It is one of the most direct ways that you can exercise your rights.
  • In Philadelphia County, where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 7 to 1, many races are decided in the primaries. For instance, in my City Council district, two Democrats are running for their party’s ticket, but no candidates are vying for the support of opposing parties. Therefore, the primary race between the Democrats will decide who wins the general election in November, as there will be no challengers.

Any questions about Tuesday’s primary elections? Ask in the comments below. And get out to vote!

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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