Pennsylvania primary election will determine how future emergencies are handled in the state

On election day, there will be changes for voters at their polling place, that were in place in November’s election.

Pennsylvania has adopted the CDC’s guidelines stating fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most settings.

However, each county in the Commonwealth has their own plan.

In Allegheny County, election officials will ask voters to wear face covering and offer masks, but not require them to vote.

In Beaver County, election officials will allow each polling location to make their own decision, but the county is instructing poll workers not to confront maskless voters.

Pennsylvania is a closed primary, meaning party members choose their candidates.

However, there are several constitutional amendments on the ballot everyone can vote on, including one involving the Governor’s powers.

“So, the questions here is; do you really believe the governor has too much power,” said Kris Kanthak, Political Science Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

According to Kanthak, the question above has the most consequential outcome.

Governor Tom Wolf has used his powers to extend the state’s emergency declaration on multiple occasions, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voters will also be asked to decide if an amendment should be made to the state’s constitution, requiring the Governor to ask the General Assembly for approval to extend emergency declarations beyond 21 days.

“These rules will be in place for the next emergency. We don’t know yet which party the Governor will be and which party the legislature will be,” said Kanthak.