Ballot initiatives you’ll vote on in Pennsylvania — and more answers to your election questions

Tell us what you *need to know* before Nov. 6.

What Allegheny County voters will see on Nov. 6, 2018

What Allegheny County voters will see on Nov. 6, 2018

Sarah Anne Hughes

In under a month, voters in Pennsylvania will head to the polls.

No one likes being unprepared. That’s why we’re asking what you want to know about the midterms, to get you ready for Election Day.

But first, a note: If you haven’t registered to vote, you are sadly out of luck. Pennsylvania doesn’t have same-day voting, although many Democrats have pushed reforms in recent years.

Now for some questions.

“I am registered independent can I vote on Nov 6??”

Yes. Let’s say that again: Yes. All registered voters can — and should! — go to the polls on Nov. 6. Registered voters can cast ballots for candidates regardless of party during a general election.

“I cannot yet find the initiatives that will be on the ballot in Nov (local/state)! I can find the info for other cities and states … “

There are no statewide ballot initiatives this year.

In Allegheny County, voters will be asked:

“Shall the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter be amended to establish the Allegheny County Children’s Fund, funded by Allegheny County levying and collecting an additional 0.25 mills, the equivalent of $25 on each $100,000 of assessed value, on all taxable real estate, beginning January 1, 2019 and thereafter, to be used to improve the well-being of children through the provision of services throughout the County including early childhood learning, after school programs, and nutritious meals?”

The ballot initiative was spearheaded by 10 nonprofits, including Allies for Children and the Untied Way of Southwestern PA. It would create an Office of the Allegheny County Children’s Fund, overseen by the county manager, and raise $18 million annually by increasing property taxes — $25 for every $100,000 assessed. For a home assessed at $150,000, that would mean a $37.50 increase.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in May he is in favor of the idea, but opposed to raising property taxes (which is the only funding mechanism available via ballot referendum). That’s still his position, according to a spokesperson.

The Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network has also come out against the ballot question:

In Allegheny County, we already have an existing process for raising taxes through county government, and we don’t need additional layers of bureaucracy. Furthermore, we believe that if the Allegheny County Children’s Fund Initiative were truly a public process, we’d have access to basic information such as how the fund’s advisory commission would be appointed, or how they would oversee what is estimated to be nearly $18 million in annual revenue. Unfortunately, those questions don’t have answers.

The Office of the Allegheny County Children’s Fund would select the advisory commission, according to a FAQ. There are a few opportunities between now and Election Day to learn more about the initiative over coffee.

Voters will also see ballot questions in:

Now it’s your turn. Ask us your questions about the upcoming election: