Monday, April 25, 2016

Last Minute Voter Info

This is my last election info blog until the fall. Tomorrow's primary is for Democrats and Republicans only. No independents. However, Montgomery County FINALLY put up their sample ballots. By checking out mine, I just found out that there is a special GENERAL election on the ballot in District 3 for council (I thought it was a primary). Not sure how that works. You'd think independents would be able to vote for their councilperson. More about that election below, but first a few FYI questions that come up at all of our voting places.

Polls in Norristown will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.

You won't need ID unless you're a first time voter or voting for the first time in a new polling place. Not sure? Bring ID anyway. The inspectors at your polling place will have a memo written in their books if they need to ask you for ID. Otherwise, if you've voted in the same place forever like me, you don't need an ID.

Where is your designated polling place? Here's a map of N-town's districts and their polling places. If you're too near a border to be sure, go to this link and type in your address to find out. You can ONLY vote at the polling place for your address.

It's illegal to campaign inside the polls or within 10 feet of the door. For that reason, please don't wear campaign buttons or apparel inside. You may be asked to remove or cover them if you do. You also may not use electronic devices inside the polls. Before you walk inside, tell whoever you're texting or talking to on the phone that you'll call them back.

If someone is campaigning within 10 feet of the door, or otherwise blocks your way or tries to discourage you from voting, report them to the Judge of Elections inside.

To see a sample ballot, go to this link, choose "Norristown" from the list, then choose your district (if not sure, go to the link above to find your polling place).

The sample ballot shows 2 questions on the ballot. I heard a few days ago that at least the first question and perhaps both have been postponed until the general election when independents can vote, too. Just in case, the 1st has to do with extending the retirement age for magistrates. The 2nd asks if you want to eliminate Philadelphia Traffic Court (on our ballots because it's a state court).

And lastly, for those of you in the 3rd District, there's supposed a general election for councilperson between Valerie Scott Cooper and Frank Caperilla. I thought it was a primary to select the candidates and the general election would be in the fall, but apparently not.

Valerie Cooper is the incumbent, appointed to replace Linda Christian. So far I have no problem with her. She meets with her constituents regularly (which a lot of our council people don't do) and seems interested in trying new ideas to solve issues, rather than just doing whatever the rest of council or Crandall Jones prefers. If anything, I wish she and other council members would ask more questions before a vote, or summarize the issue, if only to educate the residents present at each meeting.

I looked all over the internet for info on Frank Caperilla. All I could find is that he's a retired police officer and he may be working for the Social Security Admin. Nothing else, not even a photo. He held a fundraiser last week. Not sure what for because I haven't so much as received a phone call from him or seen a campaign mailer. I saw one lawn sign down on Harding Blvd. That's it. Maybe he thinks it's a primary, too. Or he doesn't really want the job.

So, now that you're armed with all this info, get out and vote. And remember, be nice to those workers inside the polls. They'll all put in a long, exhausting day, but they're there to make sure everyone who wants to gets a chance to participate in our democracy.

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