As a first-year out-of-state pupil, the November Three election can be my first publicity to Pennsylvania politics. And as somebody who’s inquisitive about politics, I wished to determine what the native political state of affairs is like right here and discover out why, as a non-Pennsylvanian, I ought to take note of the down-ballot candidates.
Whereas county and township elections are held in off years and as such, won’t be on the poll on November 3, there are nonetheless key state government and legislative positions up for election. To get a greater sense of the political state of affairs, I reached out to the Haverford College Democrats and spoke to Natasha Bansal ’23.
Levi Raskin: Why ought to folks like me, who aren’t from Philadelphia however are voting right here, care about down-ballot candidates?
Natasha Bansal: We tend to solely concentrate on the large one, however on the whole, native politics actually do form [the] lives of people that reside in these areas. It is a crucial time in native politics, as we have gotten a really blue county. Final yr’s election was historic as numerous seats went to Democratic candidates, seats which had been held by Republicans for the reason that Civil Struggle.
LR: What contributed to that Democratic wave?
NB: Delaware County will get taxed comparatively greater than surrounding areas with out receiving a proportional inflow of providers. Democratic candidates have been in a position to harness these frustrations right into a resounding blue wave the place we noticed three Democratic candidates elected to the county council.
LR: With that historic election in thoughts, what function did Haverford School play within the lead as much as the 2019 election, and the way are college students campaigning this yr?
NB: The Haverford School Democrats had a roundtable the place native politicians got here and talked to us about native politics. As well as, there have been numerous alternatives to arrange canvassing journeys with college students. This yr, attributable to COVID-19, there isn’t any face-to-face political campaigning, however the Democrats are relying closely on telephone banking and texting for outreach.
LR: What’s your message for out-of-state college students to do for this election?
NB: Very first thing is to right away register to be a voter in Pennsylvania if [you’re] coming from a state that’s not massively consequential. It appears like Biden is main Pennsylvania, however by a small quantity. Trump received Pennsylvania in 2016 by 44,000 votes and with all the problems surrounding mail-in ballots, the margins this election are dangerously shut.
The Pennsylvania mail-in course of is extraordinarily complicated, which was demonstrated in the course of the Delaware County major this spring, the place the county was not able to process the vast amounts of applications. I hope and guessing that the county has elevated the workers to assist out with the brand new poll requests, however we do have a polling place right here on campus, so it’s comparatively simple to vote in individual.
When you vote by mail, Pennsylvania has one thing referred to as a unadorned poll, the place ballots may be discounted if you don’t put your poll in two completely different envelopes, so please concentrate on that. Take note of native places of work and once they launch a full poll, we will take a look at earlier than voting [and] do analysis on the candidates. Maintain one of the best pursuits of the group at coronary heart.
Along with talking with Natasha, I additionally reached out to an area politician, Andy Lewis, who’s an impartial Haverford Township commissioner, for his ideas each on the election on the whole and likewise on how Haverford School and its college students may be concerned with each the election and extra native motion.
Levi Raskin: With an eye fixed in direction of native politics, what are your ideas on this election?
Andy Lewis: We noticed folks come out in 2017 and 2019 to assist Democrats for County Council. [Trump’s] going to get hammered in Philadelphia and the 4 suburban counties. There may be not a whole lot of complacency this election; persons are exhausted and have had sufficient of his antics, so I hope they do come out. We have to hit the reset button.
Public service is a superb sacrifice in case you are in it for the precise causes, and I don’t suppose a whole lot of our public servants are in it for the precise causes. Their precedence is to get reelected in any respect prices. We see that day-after-day and in virtually each race.
LR: What recommendation do you could have for school college students who’re inquisitive about politics, contemplating the frustrations you talked about?
AL: My job as township commissioner and native politics usually won’t essentially influence your life as a school pupil, because you wouldn’t have to fret about getting trash picked up, zoning, or points with neighbors. For that motive, although, we now have far more influence on folks’s lives than the federal stage. Daily politics is admittedly essential and we now have an excellent board.
And particularly regarding Haverford, final yr I used to be right here with [State] Consultant [Greg] Vitali for an environmental discussion board. We additionally received a Haverford pupil concerned with an environmental advisory committee, in addition to working with the varsity correct to enhance pedestrian crossings and different initiatives. Whereas I didn’t go to Haverford, my household has a protracted historical past of attending Haverford. The Township has an important relationship to the varsity and could be very open to working with college students who’re inquisitive about native politics.
Apart from the presidential election, the Pennsylvania Lawyer Common (an elected workplace essential to addressing points similar to policing), Auditor Common, and Treasurer are all on the poll this November. As well as, college students will vote on races for the State Senate and the State Home of Representatives—notable as a result of Democrats are hoping to flip both chambers of the State Legislature.
On the federal stage, there’s additionally an election for our Congressional Consultant with Mary Homosexual Scanlon (D), first elected two years in the past, working in opposition to Dasha Pruett (R). Extra data may be discovered about each your particular poll and the candidates on it on the voting guide by the Philadelphia Inquirer.