Wrangling over referendum muddies Pa. absentee ballots

    Pennsylvania absentee ballots are due to county election offices by 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, but votes won’t be counted for one referendum printed on most of them.

    A Commonwealth Court judge ruled Wednesday to definitively postpone until the general election a ballot question about whether the mandated retirement age for state justices and judges should change from 70 to 75 years old.

    We looked around for an absentee voter and quickly found Jeffrey Harrison, a Millersville University student and WITF intern. He noticed the referendum on his absentee ballot, but he didn’t realize it was the subject of court challenges.

    “Nowadays pretty much everything’s up for political debate,” said Harrison, “so that wouldn’t surprise me too, too much.”

    The ballot question was yanked from the primary election ballot when Republican state lawmakers objected to the way it was worded by state election officials.

    Later, Democratic state lawmakers asked a judge to allow the referendum to remain because of absentee voters who had already weighed in on it. Their request was denied.

    The revised referendum, delayed until the general election, omits the state’s current judicial retirement age.

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