fbpx

Your Queer Election Guide – Spring ’21

If you follow pop culture, you would assume there are elections only every four years and then we’re done with all of that until the next quadrennial elections. You’d be wrong. There are vitally important elections every single year, twice a year at that. LGBTQ people and all marginalized communities don’t have the luxury of ignoring municipal and judicial elections like more privileged folks do. Not when these very elections can touch our communities directly and most consequently.

The Pennsylvania primary elections on May 18, 2021 can and will have a direct impact on our communities and the issues that are most pressing: accountability and demilitarization of the police; gentrification, affordable housing and the mass displacement of communities of color; air quality and safe drinking water; workers’ rights and whether our largest not-for-profits will pay their fair share; the continuing epidemic of violence toward trans people of color. The judicial elections also afford us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the court in the a manner that reflects our most pressing needs with nine new judges to be elected to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

With all of that, here is your queer guide to the 2021 Primary Elections on May 18th:

When is the election?

The Pennsylvania 2021 Primary Election is on Tuesday, May 18th. Polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. You can find your polling place here. Vote-by-Mail is an option again this year. You can request your mail-in ballot here. You must request your mail-in ballot by May 11th and return it by 8:00 pm on May 18th. Plan accordingly. If you don’t trust that the mail will make it in time, you should vote in person.

Can registered ‘independents’ vote?

Yes. While you won’t be able to vote for candidates in their party primaries, you will be able to vote on the important local and statewide ballot questions outlined below.

Who’s on the ballot?

Which races and candidates appear on your ballot will depend on where you live and are registered to vote. You can view a sample of your ballot, the races you can vote in, and the candidates to choose from here.

There are three local candidates that are known to be members of the LGBTQ Community – Bethani Cameron seeking to represent Pittsburgh City Council District 4, which covers South Pittsburgh, Caroline Tongarm seeking a seat on the Sharpsburg Borough Council, and Tiffany Sizemore for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

Who should I vote for?

While we can’t tell you who to vote for, the Steel City Stonewall Democrats and the Gertrude Stein Political Club have put together lists of their recommended candidates outlined below. You can also read our interviews with two of the Pittsburgh mayoral candidates here and here.

The Steel City Stonewall Democrats work to sensitize and educate all candidates and office holders, Democratic Party leaders, and the community at large to the issues and concerns of the LGBTQIA+ community. View their full recommendations here. Recommendation noted as SCSD below.

The Gertrude Stein Political Club is a multi-partisan organization with decades of history educating candidates and encouraging support for the LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights issues. View their full recommendations here. Recommendation noted as GSPC below.

Candidates recommended by both organizations are denoted in bold.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Maria McLaughlin, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Pennsylvania Superior Court

Jill Beck, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

Vote for two.

Amanda Green-Hawkins, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

David Spurgeon, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Vote for nine.

Bruce Beemer, recommended by SCSD.

Nicola Henry-Taylor, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Elliot Howsie, recommended by SCSD.

Sabrina Korbel, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Lisa Middleman, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Mik Pappas, recommended by GSPC.

Brian Samuel Malkin, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Matt Rogers, recommended by SCSD.

Giuseppe Rosselli, recommended by GSPC.

Tiffany Sizemore, recommended by SCSD.

Patrick Sweeney, recommended by GSPC.

Chelsa Wagner, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Allegheny County Sheriff

Kevin Kraus, recommended by SCSD.

Allegheny County Council

District 1: Jack Betkowski, recommended by SCSD.

District 3: Anita Prizio, recommended by SCSD.

District 4: Patrick Catena, recommended by SCSD. Read the article about Allegheny County Council’s failure here.

District 8: Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, recommended by SCSD.

District 9: Steven Singer, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC. Read the article about Allegheny County Council’s failure here.

Mayor of Pittsburgh

Ed Gainey, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

Mayor of Sharpsburg

Brittany Reno, recommended by SCSD.

Pittsburgh City Council

District 2: Theresa Kail-Smith, recommended by SCSD.

District 4: Bethani Cameron, recommended by SCSD.

District 6: R. Daniel Lavelle, recommended by SCSD.

District 8: Erika Strassburger, recommended by SCSD.

Sharpsburg Borough Council

Sarah Ishman, recommended by SCSD.

Kayla Portis, recommended by SCSD.

Carrie Tongarm, recommended by SCSD.

Brad Truman, recommended by SCSD.

Pittsburgh School Board

District 1: Sylvia C. Wilson, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

District 5: Terry Kennedy, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

District 7: Jamie Piotrowski, recommended by SCSD.

District Magistrate

5-2-04 (Sharpsburg area): Matthew Rudzki, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

5-3-10 (Lawrenceville area): Anthony Coeffe , recommended by SCSD.

5-2-19 (Dormont & Mt. Lebanon area): Hilary Wheatley Taylor, recommended by both SCSD and GSPC.

5-2-42 (Brighton Heights area): Raymond Robinson, recommended by SCSD.

What are these ballot questions?

Depending on where you live, there are several questions that will appear on your ballot. Three are for everyone in Pennsylvania. Here’s a quick explainer on those three:

The Gertrude Stein Political Club recommends that you vote “no” on questions 1 and 2 and vote “yes” on question 3.

Allegheny County voters will see a question about solitary confinement that reads:

Shall the Allegheny County Code, Chapter 205, Allegheny County Jail, be amended and supplemented to include a new Article III, which shall set forth standards governing conditions of confinement in the Allegheny County Jail?

The Gertrude Stein Political Club recommends that you vote “yesto prohibit solitary confinement at the county jail, with exceptions for lockdowns, emergencies, and protective separation requests.

City of Pittsburgh voters will see a question about a “No-Knock Warrants” ban that reads:

Shall the Pittsburgh Home Rule Charter be amended and supplemented by adding a new Article 10: Powers of the Pittsburgh Police, containing Section 1001, which shall bar employees of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police from executing warrants at any residence without knocking and announcing themselves?

The Gertrude Stein Political Club recommends that you vote “yes” to ban the use of “No-Knock Warrants”.

QBurgh staff writer
QBurgh is your source for LGBTQ news and community resources in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Want to write for us?