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State Judge Elections, Retentions and School Boards Top Ballot Battles
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

            The term "off-year election" takes on an updated meaning in 2021 and interest has risen in its importance as local voters take a harder look at judicial and school board positions and candidates.

            Pennsylvania is one of eight states that use partisan elections to initially select judges and then use retention elections to determine whether judges should remain on the bench. 

            According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, the merit retention provision of Pennsylvania's constitution allows all but magisterial district judges to be retained with a simple "yes" or "no" vote without ballot reference to political affiliation.  The provision was designed to remove judges from the pressures of the political arena once they begin their first term of office

            All judges, except those of the magisterial districts, face retention elections following their initial terms. After a judge has won an initial partisan election, subsequent terms are attained through retention elections. In retention elections, judges do not compete against another candidate, but voters are given a "yes" or "no" choice whether to keep the justice in office for another term.

            If the candidate receives more yes votes than no votes, he or she is successfully retained. If not, the candidate is not retained, and there will be a vacancy in that court upon the expiration of their term.

            In Tuesday's election in our readership area, Superior Court Judges John T. Bender, and Mary Jane Bowes; Commonwealth Court Judges Anne Covey and Renee Cohn Jubelirer will face the yes or no answers by voters as to whether or not they should remain on the Bench. 

            Also facing a yes or no on retention is Court of Common Pleas Judges Thomas C. Branca and Richard P. Haaz, both in the 38th Judicial District in Montgomery County; Thomas G. Parisi and Jeffrey K. Sprecher, both in the 23rd Judicial District in Berks County; and James M. McMaster and Robert J. Mellon, both in the 7th Judicial District of Bucks County.

            In the Montgomery County election battles, Democrat Mary McLaughlin will face off against Republican Kevin Brobson for Justice of the Supreme Court.  Democrat Tamika Lane faces Republican Megan Sullivan for Judge of the Superior Court.  In the battle for Judge of the Commonwealth Court, Democrats Lori A. Dumas and David Lee Spurgeon, along with Republicans Stacy Marie Wallace and Drew Crompton will battle for two open seats.  Democrat A. Nicole Phillips is running unopposed on the Democratic and Republican ballots for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County.

            In the race for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Berks County, Tina Boyd will face James Gavin.  Boyd and Gavin will appear on Democratic and Republican ballots.

            The Bucks Country race for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas pits Democrat Tiffany Michelle Thomas-Smith against Republican Stephen A. Corr.

            Running in the race for four open seats on the Upper Perkiomen School Board is Emily Psaris McCormick, running on the Democratic and Republican ticket, along with Democrats JP Prego and Tatiana Galota, and Republicans Keith McCarrick, Melanie Cunningham, and Eve M. Puhalla.  Running as write-in candidates are Jessica Gallagher and Jeffrey Borchelt.

            In the contests for seats on the Boyertown Area School Board, the Region 1 battle pits Ruth A. Dierolf against Kirstin Lord.  Dierolf and Lord will appear on the Democratic and Republican tickets.  Democrat Sonia Mastros will face Republican Anthony Panarello in Region 2; Democrat Jon Emeigh will go against Jeffrey Zawada in Region 3.

            For a seat on the Quakertown Community School Board, Democrat Jennifer L. Goss will go against Republican Glenn Nicholas Iosue in Region 2.  The Region 3 battle pits Democrat Joseph Carl Lyons against Republican Michael J. Post.  Diane Richino is running unopposed on the Democratic and Republican ballots in Region 1.

            Souderton Area School District will see Democrats Scott P. Swindells and Republican William J. Brong, along with Janet Flisak, Andres D. Landis and Stephan Nelson who will be listed on the Republican and Democratic ballots, vie for four open seats on the Board.

            Eight candidates will compete for four open positions on the Perkiomen Valley School Board.  Democrats Tammy Campli, Michelle Smith, Michele Keating-Sibel, Edward McGuire, along with Republicans Rowan Keenan, Don Fountain, Jason E. Saylor, and Jason Christopher Shoemaker Geddes will be on the ballot in Tuesday's General Election. 






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