WASHINGTON (AP) — Voters in Tuesday’s general election in Pennsylvania will fill a vacant state Supreme Court seat that could play a significant role on voting-related cases during the 2024 presidential campaign.
The candidates are Republican Carolyn Carluccio and Democrat Daniel McCaffery. Carluccio is the president judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. McCaffery is a state Superior Court judge. The two are competing to replace Max Baer, the former chief justice who died in 2022.
The Court has a 4-2 Democratic majority, so the outcome of this race will not determine partisan control. But the seat could help Democrats or Republicans keep or gain control of the court when the next elections are held in 2025. In the meantime, he new justice could break any 3-3 ties on election-related cases that come up in the 2024 presidential campaign, in which Pennsylvania will be a hotly contested battleground. Despite the Democratic majority, the court has deadlocked on a few occasions on voting cases.
Judicial seats for the state Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court also will be decided.
Voters in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, will select a new county executive. That race pits Democrat Sara Innamorato, a former state representative, against Republican Joseph Rockey, a former executive with PNC Financial Services.
In Philadelphia, Democrat Cherelle Parker and Republican David Oh face off to be the city’s next mayor.
Here’s a look at what to expect on election night:
The general election in Pennsylvania will be held Tuesday. Polls close at 8 p.m. ET.
WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT
The Associated Press will provide coverage for eight contests: state Supreme Court justice, Commonwealth Court judge, Superior Court judge, Philadelphia mayor, Philadelphia City Council Districts 3, 10 and at-large and Allegheny County executive.
WHO GETS TO VOTE
Voters registered in Pennsylvania in the jurisdictions holding elections may participate in Tuesday’s voting. The registration deadline was Oct. 23.
Off-year elections tend to be relatively low-turnout events. The voter turnout for the 2021 state Supreme Court election was about 32%.
In a competitive contest, particularly in small local elections, the margin between the first- and second-place candidates may be a relatively small number of votes. This may slow the race-calling process as a handful of absentee, provisional or other untallied ballots could play a decisive role in determining the result.
The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.
In Pennsylvania, a statewide contest is subject to an automatic recount if the margin is 0.5 percentage points or less. The AP may declare a winner in a race that is eligible for a recount if it can determine the lead is too large for a recount or legal challenge to change the outcome.
WHAT DO TURNOUT AND ADVANCE VOTE LOOK LIKE
As of Oct. 30, there were 8.7 million active voters registered in Pennsylvania. Of those, 45% are Democrats, 40% are Republicans, 4% are members of minor parties and 11% were not affiliated with any party. Turnout for the 2022 general election was 61% of registered voters.
As of Thursday, a total of 612,793 voters had cast ballots before Election Day, 73% from Democrats and 20% from Republicans.
In the 2021 general election, almost 2.8 million votes were cast in the state Supreme Court election. Of those, 27% were cast before Election Day. A year ago, 23% of voters in the 2022 general election cast their ballots before Election Day.
HOW LONG DOES VOTE-COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?
In the 2022 general election, the AP first reported results at 8:02 p.m. ET, or two minutes after polls closed. By noon ET the next day, approximately 97% of the total vote had been counted.