Pa. Voters: Beware of Misleading Ballot Question

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Today is a big day for America. It is important that we all get out to vote for the President of the U.S. in this election, maybe even more so than ever before. However, while the elections on the national level have taken up much space on everyone’s minds, local elections cannot be forgotten.

On the Pennsylvania ballot Tuesday, there will be a question regarding the age in which Pa. judges and justices must retire.

The question will read:

“Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices, judges and justices of the peace be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?”

The question has many Pa. voters up in arms because it is misleading. The questions fails to mention that justices, judges, and justices of the peace already are required to retire at the age of 70. The question omits information that would have an impact on how Pa. voters vote.

The Franklin and Marshall College Poll did a survey which concluded when voters were asked the question as it shall appear on the ballot 64 percent responded, “yes.” However, when the clause, “instead of the current requirement that they be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70,” was provided, only 39 percent of voters responded, “yes.”

This study proves that the wording of a question can impact how individuals respond to it a great deal. The GOP-controlled state legislature developed this question. And despite the findings of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll, the lawyer for the Senate Republicans do not believe the question omits information the voters may need to make a decision.

Back in April, Pa. voters were asked the question in a much more direct way, “Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges and justices of the peace (known as magisterial district judges) be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75, instead of the current requirement that they be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70?”

About 2.4 million voters answered this question and the majority voted against it. However, shortly before the primary they decided to move the referendum to November with new wording, so those votes did not even matter. The wording was changed to what voters will be faced with now, and people are not happy about it the misleading their government is engaging in.

Pa. voters should keep this information in mind when they go to vote.

 

 

 

 

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