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Pa. primary election 2023: How to vote, where to vote, and everything you need to know for May 16

Pennsylvania voters take to the polls in Harrisburg on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.
Amanda Berg
For Spotlight PA
Pennsylvania voters take to the polls in Harrisburg on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters.

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s 2023 primary election is almost here, and Spotlight PA has assembled a list of guides to help you figure out where to vote, how to make sure your ballot is counted, and what you should know about all the people running.

Voters in this election will pick their party’s candidates for four statewide appellate court seats — one on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, two on the Superior Court, and one on Commonwealth Court.

There is also a slew of local judicial elections on the ballot, along with citywide and local races for offices like mayor and school board, plus two special elections for state House seats — one in Delaware County, and one in the upper Susquehanna Valley.

Before you cast a ballot, here’s a last-minute checklist of everything you’ll need to vote.

First, the basics:

  • Make sure you’re registered, and that you know which party you belong to. Pennsylvania has a closed primary system, meaning you can only vote in a primary for a party you belong to, with a few exceptions. You can check your voter registration status here. Unfortunately, if you aren’t registered or want to switch parties, it’s too late to do so ahead of the primary.
  • The deadline to request a mail ballot was Tuesday, May 9, so if you haven’t requested one yet, you’ll need to vote in person. If you still have questions about your mail ballot — for instance, what to do if it doesn’t arrive — you can find Spotlight PA’s list of frequently asked mail ballot questions here. You can also track your ballot here.
  • If you plan to vote in person, find your polling place here.
  • You need to bring a form of ID such as a driver’s license or a passport if it’s your first time voting at your polling location. You can find the full list of acceptable IDs here.
  • Any other questions? Call your county election office! You can find their number here, and read more Spotlight PA election guides here.

And here’s what you can expect to see on your ballot:

  • Enter your address into Spotlight PA’s interactive sample ballot to find some of your candidates. (We do not keep your address on file).
  • All Democratic voters will see the same options for the Supreme, Superior, and Commonwealth Courts on their ballot: They’ll have a choice between Debbie Kunselman and Daniel McCaffery for Supreme; Jill Beck, Pat Dugan, and Timika Lane for Superior; and Bryan Neft and Matt Wolf for Commonwealth.
  • The same goes for Republican voters: They’ll have a choice between Carolyn Carluccio and Patricia McCullough for Supreme; Maria Battista and Harry F. Smail Jr. for Superior (both will be on the ballot in the general election, because there are two contested seats); and Megan Martin and Josh Prince for Commonwealth.
  • Voters will be allowed to pick one candidate for Supreme Court and one for Commonwealth Court, while they can vote for up to two Superior Court candidates since there are two vacant seats.
  • No matter which party you belong to, you can read Spotlight PA’s guide to all the Supreme Court candidates here, and our guide to the Superior and Commonwealth Court candidates here.
  • Voters who live in Pennsylvania House Districts 108 and 163 will also see candidates for those seats on their ballot. Unlike most races, voters who don’t belong to a major party are allowed to vote in special elections held during the spring primary.
  • In addition, you will see candidates for school board and other local races on your ballot this primary. Spotlight PA has a list of tips for vetting those candidates here. Note that some of them may run in both primaries.

There will be no statewide proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot. However, there may be local ballot initiatives depending on where you live. Check your county’s election website or sample ballot.

You can also check where constitutional amendments are in the legislative process using Spotlight PA’s amendment tracker, which you can find here.

Find our complete coverage, plus key dates, campaign finance data, sample ballots, and more at our Election Center 2023 website.

A complete listing of Spotlight PA voter guides to:

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Katie Meyer covers government and elections, with a focus on the money and powerful interests that can shape policy decisions, and the ways those decisions affect Pennsylvanians. She also plans coverage and edits Spotlight’s government team.