Register to vote. Your state needs you.
The 2014 general election is now just six weeks away.
Pennsylvanians will be electing a governor on Nov. 4, and even though polls suggest that Democratic candidate Tom Wolf will handily defeat unpopular incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, ultimately that decision won't be made until Election Day.
The gubernatorial race, as well as races for the U.S. Congress, the State Senate, and the State House, will be decided by those Pennsylvanians who go out on that first Tuesday in November and vote. It's a simple act, voting. There won't be long lines. In many races, there won't even be a real choice between candidates.
The deadline to register to vote for Chester County residents is coming up fast: the last day to do so is Monday, October 6.
It would be an understatement to say that the Corbett-Wolf showdown has failed to excite voters in Pa. Democrats were referring to Corbett as “One Term Tom” three years ago, and the governor has done little to win favor with voters or promote the accomplishments that his administration has had since then. Wolf crushed the Democratic field, including the better known candidates, in the spring Primary with a well-managed campaign, but with Corbett trailing in the general election polls by 20 or points for most of the summer and early fall, his campaigning has been very methodical. There are sharp differences between the candidates, but not over any issues that have drummed up interest in the race or that will drive voters to the polls.
The Philadelphia Daily News recently noted that statewide voter turnout for a governor's race in Pennsylvania has topped 40 percent only once, in 2006, during the last three decades, and that certainly seems unlikely to happen this year.
During the last Presidential election, Pennsylvania ranked in the bottom half of states in terms of voter turnout.
One reason for low turnout is the large number of uncontested races, which is a problem all across the U.S. as more and more congressional, state and local seats have been gerrymandered into “safe” districts for one party or the other. But in the upcoming election, residents in this part of Chester County can choose between Ryan Costello or Manan Trivedi in the 6th Congressional District race for an open seat; incumbent Joseph Pitts or Tom Houghton in the 16th district; and incumbent John Lawrence or Ann Schott in the 13th District of the State House. The 158th district race is suddenly wide open with the announcement that Republican candidate Cuyler Walker is dropping out, leaving Democrat Susan Rzucidlo in a much stronger position as the election nears.
There are real choices to be made on Election Day.
We're not sure if voter fatigue is a real ailment, but voter apathy certainly is. Polls suggest that we've all lost a lot of faith in politicians, whether they are representing us in Washington D.C., Harrisburg, or the local town hall. But low voter turnout is one of the reasons why we don't get better representation.
So take the time, register before October 6, get informed about the candidates, and then go out to vote.