By Katie Hetherington Cunfer, Director of Government & Community Relations
It’s fall. The leaves are beautiful, the air is brisk, and everything has pumpkin spice in it — including things like SPAM, which is wrong on so many levels.
It’s also time to VOTE! Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. The last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Monday, Oct. 24. For a mail-in or absentee ballots, all requests must be RECEIVED by Berks County Election Services by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1 and completed mail-in ballots must be RECEIVED by Tuesday, Nov. 8 by 8 p.m. Postmarks no longer count and make sure the security envelope of your mail-in ballot has a handwritten date and a signature or it may not be counted (pending court cases on this specific matter). For more information and how to register to vote online, head to vote.pa.gov.
The next step in this process is the who part of the equation. This fall, your ballot may include candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, PA Senate, and PA House of Representatives. Only half of the PA Senate offices are on the ballot (the even ones), so you may not have that race depending upon where you live. Also, we went through redistricting this year, and you may have brand new names on your ballot due to retirements, redistricting or primary results. To find out who is on your ballot, use the GRCA Action Center My Voting tab and fill in your address.
Now that you have viewed your ballot, it’s time to decide on who you plan to vote for. We strongly encourage you to figure this out before you walk into the voting booth or fill out your mail-in ballot, so we have put together some resources to help with that process. These resources can be found in our 2022 Election Guide. As part of our efforts to educate our members about the people running for office, we send all candidates for state and federal office a Candidate Questionnaire about pro-business topics and their positions on bills or policy that affect the business community in Berks County. Candidates can choose to not participate in that process, but that may be an indication that they do not support pro-business policies, or they may not want to have their positions on issues, for or against, on the record.
We also share with our members the Legislative Scorecards created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the PA Chamber of Business & Industry. These scorecards reflect the votes made by current, elected officials on bills important to the business community. The U.S. Chamber’s Scorecard includes bipartisanship in their overall scores. The higher the rating of the elected official, the more in line they are with pro-business policies.
New to this year’s voter education information is Candidate Endorsements from the U.S. Chamber and the PA Chamber. GRCA does not endorse candidates but is sharing this information from our partner organizations for educational purposes. These endorsements help to identify pro-business candidates in the many open seats we have this year. The lack of an endorsement for an incumbent may be perceived as a negative because that member does not regularly vote to support pro-business policies. The lack of an endorsement of either candidate in a specific race may mean that not enough is known about either candidate’s positions on pro-business issues.
GRCA isn’t in the business of telling you who to vote for, but we encourage the business community of Berks County to select candidates that will work to grow our economy, help to reduce barriers and burdens and work collaboratively with their counterparts on the complex issues facing our community and country. The decisions we make today will have repercussions for the next two, four, six and possibly eight years. In the words of the knight from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” we must “Choose wisely.”