by David L. Hyman

Did you know that election day is less than two weeks away? If you plan to vote, maybe that’s too easy a question. But here’s a tougher question for those intending to make the trek to the polling place: for what positions will we be voting?

While I’m a poor fortune teller, I will go “out on a limb” and predict that Philadelphia voting turnout will set new record lows. You may recall that a few months back in a very competitive mayoral primary, turn-out was less than 20%. I’m begging to be proved wrong. The stakes are high. We’re electing judges to the state courts including three of the seven seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Given recent news stories, we all should know how important it is that we elect capable people of the highest integrity to these positions.

Locally, we’ll elect a new mayor and all 17 City Council members. In truth, there is little suspense about how most of these seats will be filled in this solidly democratic town. BUT, our City Charter does reserve two At-Large positions for non-majority party seats. Since this is a General Election, Democrats and Independents join Republicans in making these two selections. The rule in a primary election that voters can choose only candidates in their party of registration do not apply to the General Election, where every voter can choose from all candidates, regardless of party affiliation. Thus incumbent council members, O’Brien and Oh, have real competition by way of three other Republicans: Terry Tracy, Al Taubenberger and Dan Tinney. Perhaps a reflection of citizen dissatisfaction with the status quo is the impressive emerging independent candidacy of Andrew Stober who also seeks an At-Large seat. Stober would be making history were he to knock off one of the Republican incumbents.

Call me old fashioned…but I just don’t think it’s too much to ask that everyone of us take the time twice a year to educate ourselves and head to the polls to make thoughtful choices. Vote early and often!