2022 Primaries: a last-minute guide to everything you need to know to vote 17 May | The state

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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On May 17, Democrats and Republicans in Pennsylvania will vote for candidates running in local and state races. The winners will compete in election races that will affect access to abortion, climate change policy and other important issues.

Spotlight PA has gathered all the things you need to know before you go to the polls:

Make sure you can vote

  • First, make sure you are registered to vote. You can check your registration status here.
  • If you are not registered, then you missed the primaries, but can still register for the general election in November.
  • To participate in the primaries of the Democratic or Republican Party, you must be registered with that party. You can check which party you are registered in here.
  • Non-affiliated voters will not be able to vote for candidates from the Democratic or Republican parties in the primaries, but they can still vote on voting issues (in Philadelphia there are four of themfor example) or in early electionsas a race in the Philadelphia State Senate) that occurred on that date. Find a sample ballot on your constituency’s election website or call the office to confirm if one of these questions appears on the ballot.
  • Visit for more information.

Make a voting plan

  • The deadline for submitting a request to vote by mail has passed. If you requested it, be sure to return it as soon as possible. The quickest way to do this is to return it to your constituency’s polling station or other designated place of issue. Find extradition locations or your district polling stations here.
  • You can also throw a ballot paper in the mail. But be careful: your ballot must be received at your constituency before 8pm election day, otherwise it will not be counted.
  • If you are going to vote in person, you can find a place to vote here. Polling stations are open from 7 am to 8 pm
  • If you are voting in person for the first time, bring your photo ID issued by the state. Here’s a list permissible forms of identity card.
  • Before you vote, you can see what your ballot will look like by going to your ballot county election site or by means of this tool created by the League of Women Voters, a national non-partisan group advocating for the right to vote.
  • Read more about voting in the primaries here and by means of postal bulletins here.

What’s in the bulletin

Democratic and Republican voters will choose which candidates will represent their parties in this fall’s general election in local and state races, which could change the balance of power in the General Assembly, the governor’s office and the federal government. These offices include:

  • The governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • U.S. Senator
  • Representative of Congress
  • Representative of the House of Representatives
  • State Senator (only legislators in even constituencies are re-elected)

Nine Republicans are running for governor, and there will be only one Democrat on the party’s ballot. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolfe, who often acted as a foil in the Republican-led General Assembly, is restricted by the state constitution. His departure allows Republicans to take executive power.

>> To learn more about gubernatorial candidates and their various positions, read Spotlight PA’s leadership.

Four Democrats and seven Republicans are vying for an open seat in the Pennsylvania Senate. This race could affect the balance of power in Washington, DC, where Democrats must retain all their seats to retain a majority vote. Currently in place is Pat Toomie (R., Pennsylvania), who announced his retirement in late 2020.

>> Read more about U.S. Senate candidates here.

Because state and Senate constituencies are small enough to be politically cohesive, primaries often remain the last word in elections. Of the state’s 253 legislatures, only 15% of seats are considered competitive, meaning the number of voters in each party is distributed fairly evenly for any party to win.

>> See which current executives are facing major contenders here.

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