Have You Made Your Plan to Vote Smart Justice on Tuesday?

ACLU of Pennsylvania
3 min readOct 30, 2019

by Ian Pajer-Rogers

Election Day is right around the corner, on Tuesday, November 5. Do you have a plan to vote? You should make a plan to vote. Because, for an “off-year” election, there is plenty at stake.

With a number of district attorneys in competitive elections across the state, as well as a vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment called “Marsy’s Law,” the outcome of the vote on November 5 will have ramifications across Pennsylvania for years to come.

The good news is that “off-year” elections — elections that, with rare exceptions, don’t include congressional or presidential candidates — historically have low voter turnout. On its face, that may not sound like good news; we need people participating in our democracy. But with a smaller pool of voters, every vote cast has huge implications for the outcome of each race. Making a personal commitment both to vote, as well as making sure five friends get to the polls, can make a real difference.

When it comes to addressing Pennsylvania’s mass incarceration crisis, this election year brings with it a true sense of urgency and a real chance to pave the way for meaningful reform.

First, every Pennsylvanian has the opportunity to protect due process and oppose the acceleration of mass incarceration by voting “No” on Marsy’s Law.

The passage of the Marsy’s Law ballot initiative would upend the constitutional promise of “innocent until proven guilty,” could delay the release of a person from pretrial detention, and could undermine the ability of a person to appeal their conviction or sentence, all based on a false premise of protecting victims’ rights, the tools for which are already available to lawmakers.

The Marsy’s Law ballot initiative isn’t just problematic. It’s unconstitutional. You can read more about the reasons to vote against Marsy’s Law on our blog.

The second reason for the urgency around this year’s election is that many Pennsylvania counties across the commonwealth will have the opportunity to vote in competitive elections for district attorneys. District attorneys are the top law enforcement officers in their respective counties. They also happen to be the most powerful people

ACLU of Pennsylvania

We are the ACLU’s Pennsylvania affiliate, defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights through litigation, advocacy, and community education and outreach.