Election information

On the capitol steps

Courtesy Joan Wilson


Before you go to the polls, educate yourself about the issues and the candidates. As John F. Kennedy said “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.

Politics 101: A Pennsylvania Primer

Governors serve four-year terms and stand for election in the even numbered year between presidential elections. In Pennsylvania, a governor can serve no more than two terms. Governor Rendell, who was elected in 2002, stood for reelection in 2006, but cannot run for reelection again in 2010.

Pennsylvania has 19 U.S. Representatives in Washington and each serves two-year terms. All 19 seats are up for election every even-numbered year.

Pennsylvania General Assembly
The General Assembly consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Pennsylvania is geographically divided into 203 House districts and 50 Senatorial districts. A Senatorial district can overlap several House districts.

Each Pennsylvanian is represented by - and can elect - only one Representative and one Senator. Pennsylvania has 203 Representatives who serve two-year terms. Each State House district has a population of approximately 60,000.

One of the penalties for refusing to
participate in politics is that you end
up being governed by your inferiors.

– Plato


Pennsylvania’s 19 U.S. Representatives serve two-year terms, and are up for election every even-numbered year. Each Representative serves approximately 60,000 citizens.

Our 50 State Senators each serve four-year terms. Each Senator represents approximately 240,000 citizens. Senatorial elections are staggered to maintain continuity. Half of them stand for election every even-numbered year.

Following this schedule, all 203 Representatives and 25 of 50 Senators (from the even numbered districts) face re-election every two years.

Primary Elections
To have their name appear on the ballot at a General Election, candidates must go through a nomination process. For Democrat and Republican candidates, that process is the Primary Election system. Voters can only vote for candidates from their party at the Primary Election.

All other candidates must be nominated by their party and/or gather signatures on a petition to appear on the General Election ballot.

General Elections
General Elections, held in November of each year, pit Republicans vs. Democrats vs. Independents vs. candidates from other parties (Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Reform, etc), and determine who will ultimately fill the elected office.

In a general election, all voters can vote for candidates from any party.