It’s Primary Day in Pennsylvania. Here’s what voters need to know

Voters wait in line to casts their ballot in the Pennsylvania primary

Voters, wearing protective face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus, stand at a distance from each other as they wait in line to casts their ballot in the Pennsylvania primary in Philadelphia, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

It’s Primary Day in Pennsylvania.

Voters around the commonwealth will pick representatives from their parties to put on the ballot for the November general election. In Philadelphia, where Democrats outnumber Republicans seven to one, the primary can be more determinative than the general election.

Judicial races, school board seats, and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office are all in the running.

How to vote

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Pennsylvania’s Department of State sent out 820,406 mail and absentee ballots to residents. By last count, voters had sent back 482,335 of them, or less than 60%, according to spokesperson Wanda Murren. These ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on voting day — a postmark is not sufficient. Voters can manually return a mail ballot to county boards of elections and local satellite drop-off sites.

The deadline to register to vote was May 3. The Pennsylvania Department of State website lets you check your registration and find your polling place.

On the ballot

First up, judges. First-time candidates for Pennsylvania’s statewide appellate courts must run in partisan elections. If selected, they serve a 10-year term and generally are reelected. For more information on who is running to serve in Pennsylvania’s Supreme and Superior Courts, and context on recent impactful decisions by these bodies, read WHYY’s voter guide to Pennsylvania’s 2021 judicial elections.

For information about lower court races in the Philadelphia region, read WHYY’s voter guide to judicial candidates running for Court of Common Pleas in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware counties.

In Philadelphia, incumbent District Attorney Larry Krasner faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Carlos Vega. GOP candidate A. Charles Peruto is running unopposed. Incumbent City Controller Rebecca Rynhart is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

For a Philly-specific voter guide, Billy Penn’s Procrastinator’s guide to the May 2021 primary election has you covered. That guide also explains where to drop off your mail ballot, and what to do if you requested but did not receive one.

Pennsylvania voters will also see four ballot questions.

Voting day issues?

To report issues in Philadelphia, call the District Attorney’s Office Election Task Force hotline at 215-686-9641. The DA’s Office announced Monday it would recuse itself from investigating issues reported on May 18, and would instead refer those claims to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

Statewide, to check your registration, find a polling place, or make a complaint, you can call the Pennsylvania Department of State hotline at 1-877-868-3772.

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