The next primary election is on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Are you prepared to vote? Get ready with our 2021 Primary Election Guide.
By: NSC Staff
Photo: Element5 Digital for Pexels
Editor’s note: This guide has been updated on 5/14/2021.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day. The last day to register to vote is Monday, May 3, 2021 and the last day to request a mail-in or absentee ballot is Tuesday, May 11, 2021. You can find more information about the 2021 Primary Election including a complete list of election-related deadlines and statewide races at the Allegheny County Elections Division website or at www.votespa.com.
In-Person Polling Places:
If you plan to vote in person, you can find your polling place here.
The Allegheny County Elections Division confirmed on their website that all 1,323 polling places will be open. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and anyone in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
Additional information from the Election Division’s website regarding CDC-recommended safety practices:
“Poll workers will be provided masks, gloves, face shields and hand sanitizer. Additionally, there will be plexi-glass at the sign-in tables. There will also be cleaning materials at the polling place, tape to mark off 6’ distances for voters waiting in line and extra staff to help enforce the provisions. Voters will be asked to wear a face covering in compliance with the state order. Those who arrive without a face covering will be offered one.” At the time of printing, 2021 Primary races and candidates are as follows.
A county sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in a county. They have a four-year term, retain all arrest powers, and have the authority to enforce the criminal laws as well as the vehicle laws of Pennsylvania. They also appoint deputy sheriffs: Allegheny County Sheriff’s Deputies are the only deputies in the state with police powers.
Dom Costa, Democrat
Kevin Kraus, Democrat
The mayor is the chief executive officer of the City of Pittsburgh. They are elected every four years.
William Peduto, Incumbent, Democrat
State Rep. Edward C. Gainey, Democrat
Tony Moreno, Democrat
Michael Thompson, Democrat
City Council members work together to propose, debate, and vote on legislation that affects the City of Pittsburgh. City Council is also in charge of approving the final budgets (both operating and capital) for the city. Individual City Council members can also generate and introduce their own legislation.
R. Daniel Lavelle, Democrat
Magisterial District Judges:
PennLive reports that magisterial district judges are “the frontline of Pennsylvania’s judicial system.” They issue arrest and search warrants, oversee arraignments, set bail, hold preliminary hearings for criminal complaints, and hear some civil matter complaints. They can also perform weddings. Each judge must live within the district they serve. Every six years, they must run for reelection. Judges are able to serve an unlimited number of terms until they turn 75, which is the mandatory retirement age. Judges must be confirmed by the Pennsylvania state Senate.
MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT COURT 05-2-42, PITTSBURGH WARDS 26 & 27
Robert J. Biel, Democrat
Leah Williams Duncan, Esq., Democrat
Steven Oberst, Democrat
Raymond D. Robinson, Democrat
Mark J. Scorpion, Republican, Democrat
Barbara J. Sparrow, Democrat
MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT COURT 05-2-40, PITTSBURGH WARDS 21, 22, 23, 24, & 25
Derwin Rushing, Democrat
Jehosha Wright, Democrat
A school board is made up of citizens, or school directors, who administer each district’s school system. They serve four-year terms and are unpaid. According to the Pittsburgh Public Schools website, school board members are “committed to providing the best education possible for every student by providing outstanding teachers, programs, and services that enable every student to achieve their maximum potential.”
Veronica Edwards, Incumbent, Republican, Democrat
Gene Walker, Democrat
Delancey Walton, Democrat
Allegheny Court of Common Pleas Judges:
Courts of Common Pleas are one level up from Minor Courts—the first level of Pennsylvania’s judiciary—and are the state’s general trial courts. According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania website, judges in these courts preside over “appeals from minor courts, appeals not exclusively assigned to another court, and matters involving children and families.” Major civil and criminal cases are heard here. Judges’ terms are 10 years long. Similar to Magisterial District judges, Court of Common Pleas judges are able to serve an unlimited number of terms until they turn 75, which is the mandatory retirement age, and must be confirmed by the Pennsylvania state Senate.
Bruce Beemer, Incumbent, Republican, Democrat
Elliot Howsie, Incumbent, Republican, Democrat
Dean A. Birdy, Democrat
Pauline Calabrese, Republican, Democrat
Tom Caulfield, Republican, Democrat
Bill Caye, Republican, Democrat
Jason Cervone, Republican, Democrat
Jessel Costa, Republican, Democrat
Alyssa Cowan, Democrat
Rosemary Crawford, Democrat
Marc Daffner, Republican, Democrat
Anthony Deluca, Republican, Democrat
Richard Thomas Ernsberger, Republican, Democrat
Brian Flaherty, Democrat
Mark Patrick Flaherty, Republican, Democrat
Ryan Hemminger, Republican, Democrat
Nicola Henry-Taylor, Democrat
George Heym, Democrat
Rick Hosking, Democrat
Clint Kelley, Democrat
Daniel J. Konieczka, Jr., Republican, Democrat
Sabrina Korbel, Republican, Democrat
Brian Malkin, Democrat
Lisa Middleman, Republican, Democrat
Joseph Patrick Murphy, Republican, Democrat
Mik Pappas, Republican, Democrat
Chuck Porter, Republican, Democrat
Zeke Rediker, Republican, Democrat
Matt Rogers, Republican, Democrat
Giuseppe Rosselli, Democrat
Jimmy Sheets, Republican, Democrat
Tiffany Sizemore, Democrat
Patrick Sweeney, Republican, Democrat
Andrew Szefi, Republican, Democrat
Beth Tarasi-Sinatra, Republican, Democrat
Albert Veverka, Republican, Democrat
Chelsa Wagner, Republican, Democrat
Wrenna Watson, Republican, Democrat
Ilan Zur, Republican, Democrat
Judge of the Superior Court:
Pennsylvania’s Superior Court is one of the state’s two intermediate appellate aka appeals courts. It often serves as the final arbiter, or decider, of legal disputes.
Jill Beck, Democrat
Timika Lane, Democrat
Bryan Neft, Democrat
Megan Sullivan, Republican
Judge of the Commonwealth Court:
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court is one of the state’s two intermediate appellate aka appeals courts. Cases that involve state and local governments and regulatory agencies or involve subjects such as banking, insurance, utility regulation, taxation, land use, elections, labor practices, workers compensation, and liquor licenses are decided here.
Drew Crompton, Republican
Lori A. Dumas, Democrat
Amanda Green Hawkins, Democrat
David Lee Spurgeon, Democrat
Sierra Street, Democrat
Stacy Marie Wallace, Republican
Judge of the Supreme Court:
This is both the highest court in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the oldest appellate aka appeals court in the nation. According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania’s website, this court is made up of seven members and most commonly hears “requests for discretionary appeals from the Commonwealth Court and Superior Court, direct appeals from a lower court’s decision, including when a sentence of death sentences is issued, requests to intervene in a lower court’s proceedings, and requests to deliver a body from illegal detention.”
Kevin Brobson, Republican
Patricia A. McCullough, Republican
Maria McLaughlin, Democrat
Paula A. Patrick, Republican
Similar to district attorneys, sheriffs, and the police, a constable enforces and carries out the law. They can arrest for felony crimes and breaches of the peace committed in their presence, or by warrant anywhere in the commonwealth. A constable can serve warrants of arrest and mental health warrants; transport prisoners; serve summons, complaints and subpoenas; and can enforce protection from abuse orders, orders of eviction, and judgment levies. Constables are the sole law enforcement officials permitted at the polls on election day. Their job is to maintain order and ensure that no qualified voter is prevented from voting. They serve six-year terms.
CONSTABLE – PITTSBURGH WARD 22
Mark A. Brentley, Democrat
CONSTABLE – PITTSBURGH WARD 24
Jack R. Weber Jr., Democrat
CONSTABLE – PITTSBURGH WARD 27
Charles R. Adkins, Democrat
Judge of Election:
The Judge of Elections is the person in charge of operating each polling place. They enforce Election Day rules and regulations, tally and verify final results, close the polling site, and pick up and return election supplies and results. These positions are filled every four years.
JUDGE OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 22, DISTRICT 1
Sheila D. Collins, Democrat
JUDGE OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 23, DISTRICT 3
Michelle Lynch, Democrat
JUDGE OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 24, DISTRICT 3
Dolores M. Komora, Republican
JUDGE OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 25, DISTRICT 3
Dylan L. Groff, Democrat
Deborah McCree, Democrat
JUDGE OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 25, DISTRICT 4
Yvonne W. Rainey, Democrat
JUDGE OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 26, DISTRICT 14
Gail L. Manker, Democrat
JUDGE OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 26, DISTRICT 16
Anthony Ganzak, Democrat
Inspector of Election:
Each Inspector of Election plays the role of assistant to the Judge of Election and shares the responsibility of operating each polling place. They process voters, accompany voters to voting machines, assist voters with special needs, and verify ballot information on the voting machine screen. Once the polls close, they assist the Judge of Election in tallying and verifying the final results and close the polling site.
INSPECTOR OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 24, DISTRICT 3
Gloria J. Vogel, Democrat
INSPECTOR OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 24, DISTRICT 4
Dona Van Eck, Democrat
INSPECTOR OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 26, DISTRICT 16
Amy L. Ganzak, Democrat
INSPECTOR OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 26, DISTRICT 5
Sandra L. Youngblood, Democrat
INSPECTOR OF ELECTION – PITTSBURGH WARD 26, DISTRICT 7
Phyllis Bacon, Democrat
⭐ FAQ ⭐ MAIL-IN/ABSENTEE BALLOTS:
Information courtesy of the Allegheny County Elections Division. Read more here.
May I return my mail-in or absentee ballot to the Elections office?
Ballot return is available on the sixth floor of the County Office Building, 542 Forbes Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh during regular business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Beginning the Wednesday before the election, ballot return will be available in the lobby of the County Office Building.
Voters may only return their own ballot and masks or face coverings are required in the building.
How long do I have to return my mail-in or absentee ballot?
Ballots must be received by the Elections Division by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18 in order to be counted.
Is my mail-in or absentee ballot date and time stamped when it is received by Elections?
A person’s mail-in or absentee ballot has a declaration envelope with it that must be dated, signed and returned with the ballot in it in order for the vote to be counted. It also needs to have a first-class postage stamp put on it. That envelope has a bar code on it that is associated with the voter. When the voted ballot is received, that bar code is scanned and the system immediately updated to reflect that the ballot has been returned.
If there is no bar code on the envelope, elections staff will manually pull the voter’s record and enter the ballot as being received.
I still haven’t received my ballot. What are my options?
The online ballot tracker can provide you with information on when your ballot has been mailed. We recommend that you give the mail a week to get the ballot to use. If you have not received it at that point, contact the Elections Division for assistance. You may also go to the Elections Division to have your ballot reissued to you at the counter (hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday).