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Pennsylvania to vote on local races, 4 statewide proposals in primary election

The ballots questions in Tuesday's primary election include changes to Pennsylvania's constitution that would impact emergencies and race-based discrimination. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
The ballots questions in Tuesday's primary election include changes to Pennsylvania's constitution that would impact emergencies and race-based discrimination. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

May 18 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania voters will go to the polls Tuesday to vote on several primary races and four ballot questions related to emergency declaration powers, protection against racial discrimination and emergency funding.

Voters, regardless of party affiliation, can vote on the statewide ballot questions and participate in municipal contests, school board races, county elections and judicial races.

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Two of the questions on the ballot center around disaster declarations, including who has the power to declare a disaster and how long such declarations last.

One question focuses on a proposal that would give the state's general assembly the power to terminate or extend an emergency declaration or a portion of a declaration without the governor's approval.

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Currently, the governor of Pennsylvania alone has the power to end a disaster declaration, but a "yes" vote on the amendment would allow the general assembly to extend or terminate a declaration by passing a resolution by a simple majority, which the governor cannot veto.

Another question is for an amendment to the state constitution to limit the length of disaster declarations from 90 days to 21 days. The change would also require approval from the legislature to extend a disaster declaration.

Another question on the ballot Tuesday asks for an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution to make it illegal to deny or restrict a person's rights under state law due to race or ethnicity.

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The final question seeks to provide eligibility municipal fire departments -- or companies with paid firefighters -- and emergency medical services companies to apply for loans from a state program currently available to other volunteer companies.

The amendment, however, would not provide additional funding for the loan program.

Voters will also cast primary ballots in four special elections to see who survives to the general election in November -- including two seats in the Pennsylvania Senate and two in the House.

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