The Pennsylvania primary election ballots opened at 7 a.m. April 23. During presidential election years, primary elections are held on the fourth Tuesday of April. (Jessica Mellon/B&W Staff)

Pennsylvania voters take to polls for primaries


Ballots opened at 7 a.m. April 23 for the Pennsylvania primary elections. 

The primary elections are traditionally on the third Tuesday in May, however, in presidential election years, they’re held on the fourth Tuesday in April. 

The primary election will determine the auditor general for the state of Pennsylvania. The auditor general ensures the reliability of financial information and makes sure governments meet their tax dollar goals.

The two Democratic candidates are Mark Pinsley and Malcolm Kenyatta. The Republican candidate is incumbent Timothy Defoor.

The candidate who captures the majority of votes in each political party will run in November’s general election to electPennsylvania’s federal,state and local officials.

Areas of debate in this election concern constitutional amendments, ballot questions and any special contests or issues revolving around the state of Pennsylvania.

Pinsley, Lehigh County Controller, said each region has slightly different public opinions in a large state like Pennsylvania. From a candidate’s perspective, he said, most are trying to hit on two major points. 

The first is the vision of a candidate, and the second is awareness of overarching issues. 

“Most people think about (politics) on a federal level today,” Pinsley said. “A lot of the time they’re just (candidates) talking to you about the item that’s in the news that day.” 

Since the upcoming election leads into the general and even presidential elections, the primary serves as the beginning of the campaign season. 

Kate Lyden, ‘24, vice president of leadership for Student Senate and president of Pennsylvania College Democrats, has an expansive amount of experience in the political atmosphere, especially in Pennsylvania. 

Lyden highlighted the importance of paying close attention to elections. She said people aren’t aware of certain positions on the ballot or what they mean, but each candidate plays a critical role, regardless of whether they move forward into the general election. 

Karen Pooley, a political science professor, said since Pennsylvania is a swing state, the primary elections will impact the national election later this year. 

 “There are many states out there that could tip the balance one way or another,” Pooley said. “It’s always sort of right on the line.”

Pinsley emphasized the importance of voting because each vote determines the decisions made for the voters state and country. 

Pinsley said he’s seen how politics can work from a national level. As county controller, he’s responsible for local compliance and reporting on accounting related inquiries.

“I found we spend over $30 million a year on healthcare,” Pinsley said. “I found savings of $9 million over three years, which we brought back to the taxpayers of Lehigh County.” 

Lyden said it’s important students register to vote in Pennsylvania to participate in the election. 

 “It’s an exciting time,” Lyden said. “I hope the students understand that the primaries are just as important as general elections.” 

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