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Chester County Press

You be the judge

05/12/2015 12:25PM ● By Steven Hoffman

The most hotly contested race in southern Chester County in this election cycle appears to be Nicole Morley's challenge to incumbent district judge Matthew Seavey. Seavey has served as the judge of Magisterial District Court 15-4-04, which includes West Grove and Avondale boroughs and London Grove, Franklin, London Britain, New Garden, and West Marlborough townships, for the last six years. The district court has handled approximately 30,000 cases during those six years, making it one of the busiest in the county. Seavey has worked extensively in the community, supporting the efforts of organizations like The Garage Community & Youth Center and establishing an anti-truancy program to help keep children in school.

Morley, meanwhile, comes with extensive experience as an attorney. She served as an assistant state attorney in Illinois for eight years, and was also an assistant district attorney in Chester County for more than two years before opening her own law practice. Morley earned the endorsement of the Chester County Republican Party, setting the stage for a rare Primary Election showdown in a district judge race. Voters who reside in the district will have a difficult choice to make on Tuesday, May 19, and here's hoping that a lot of people turn out to make that choice.

Primary Elections usually have low voter turnout, which is unfortunate but not unexpected since General Elections typically only attract a fraction of the total number of people who are registered to vote. While it's true that the purpose of the Primary Election is for each party to select the nominees for the General Election, the Primary is not just for the political party faithful. In some races where there are more candidates than available positions up for election, it's possible for a candidate in the Primary Election to completely lose out on a ballot spot in the General Election. So the Primary Election matters, and not just in Presidential election years.

There are many important county-wide seats that will be decided this year, and if you're a registered voter you get to cast a vote in those races.

The local school boards manage budgets that range from $64 million to $87 million annually, and school directors make many important decisions about how that money is spent. They also vote on the tax rate, which has an impact on every homeowner in the district.

Township supervisors also make many decisions about spending. Some of their other decisions impact commercial and residential development. Supervisors are charged with making sure that the township-owned roads are maintained, and they make decisions about open space.

Borough council members are responsible for making decisions that help keep a borough's business district vibrant. Our local boroughs provide many of the same services that cities provide, only on a smaller scale. A good borough council helps a town rise up to meet challenges and prosper.

The opportunity to vote for the elected officials who will be charged with these duties should be cherished, not wasted. So go out and vote on Tuesday, May 19. On that day, you get to be the judge.