A Primary Election Guide for Hellertown & Lower Saucon Voters

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Editor’s Note: If you are a candidate for either Hellertown Borough Council or Lower Saucon Township Council, we want to hear from you for a guide to the candidates we will publish the week before the primary. Please email sauconsource@gmail.com with the following information: name, phone number (for verification purposes only), occupation, seat you are seeking, a statement (250 words maximum) about why you are running, links to your campaign website and/or Facebook page (if applicable) and a recent photo of yourself (optional). All submissions are subject to verification. The deadline to submit information for this guide is Friday, May 10 at 5 p.m. Any candidate who is named below and has a public website or campaign page on social media may email sauconsource@gmail.com, and we will update this story with the link.

Voters registered as Democrats or Republicans in Hellertown borough and Lower Saucon Township are preparing to cast their votes on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in municipal primaries.

On Tuesday, May 21 voters who are registered as either Democrat or Republican will vote in municipal primaries in Pennsylvania. Contested municipal primaries are important times for voters to be informed and contribute their vote. There are several contested primaries on the May 21 ballot for both Democrats and Republicans.

Why vote in municipal primaries?

First, voters should consider the outsized impact that local elections have on their daily lives. For Democrats in Hellertown Borough the council primary is contested. In Hellertown the borough council has made decisions in recent years that residents have hotly debated. These decisions have the power to affect our daily lives–from something as small as when we will Trick-or-Treat (and how we’ll ask for feedback from residents about it) to bigger issues such as the proposed construction of a public works building in a public green space. State and federal elections are exciting and what voters hear about on the news. But the local elections are far more likely to impact their daily lives.

Second, in our increasingly polarized political climate more voters are likely to vote along their party lines. As a result, it is in the primary that voters actually make their choice between candidates. Additionally, for some elected positions cross-filing is allowed. These are non-partisan positions, generally school boards. However, voters who aren’t informed regarding this practice might assume all the candidates on their party’s ballot are aligned with their policy stance.

Contested May 2019 primaries that require the attention of voters:

  • Hellertown Borough DemocratsJudge of the Superior Court, District Attorney and Borough Council (4 year and 2 year terms).  
  • Hellertown Borough RepublicansJudge of the Superior Court
  • Lower Saucon Township DemocratsJudge of the Superior Court and District Attorney
  • Lower Saucon Township RepublicansJudge of the Superior Court and Township Council (2 year term).

Know the ballot and research the candidates.

For this primary voters need only to determine if they are in the Borough of Hellertown or in Lower Saucon Township. This information is on their voter registration card or they can use the voter registration verify link below to look it up.

The official sample ballots for Northampton County are available here. (IMPORTANT – voters must find their municipality in this 155-page document.)

The Borough of Hellertown sample ballots are located on pages 83, 84 and 85 of the PDF. Voters don’t need to know which Hellertown ward they are in, since the candidates and positions are the same across all three.

The Lower Saucon Township sample ballots are located on pages 96-103 of the PDF. Voters don’t need to know which township district they are in, since the candidates and positions are the same across all eight. (Note that one district of Lower Saucon is “Hellertown.”Don’t confuse this with the Borough of Hellertown, which is a separate municipality and a different ballot.)

For the borough and township councils, voters will see there are elections for 4-year terms and 2-year terms. This unusual situation is the result of mid-term vacancies that were filled by appointment and now must be filled by voters for the remainder of the respective terms. In Lower Saucon Township, the vacancy was created by the resignation of Glenn Kern last fall. In Hellertown borough, the vacant seat resulted from the resignation of Kevin Lott around the same time. Some candidates are running in both the 4-year and 2-year races, and voters may vote for them in both. If a candidate wins the primary for both positions they will withdraw from one of the races and their party will select a candidate to run in the race from which they withdrew.

In races in which voters are able to vote for more than one candidate they should not feel they must vote for the maximum number allowed. Voters may strategically choose to vote for only one of four candidates, for example, if they really want to ensure that one wins the primary, or if they feel uninformed about some of the candidates, or for other reasons. It’s important for voters to research the candidates as much as possible and only give their vote to the ones they really want to see in the election in November.

Here’s a text version of the sample ballots for Hellertown and Lower Saucon with notes about cross-filing and contested races and live links to the candidates’ official campaign sites where the primary is contested:

Hellertown Borough for Democratic Voters

Judge of the Superior Court *Contested*

Vote for not more than 2 of 3:

Judge of the Court of Common Pleas *Cross-Filed* (race is uncontested so cross-filing is irrelevant)

  • John M. Morganelli

Northampton County District Attorney *Contested*

Vote for 1 of 2:

Northampton County Controller

  • Tony Bassil

Northampton County Council

  • Kevin Lott

Saucon Valley School Director at Large *All Candidates Cross-Filed* (race is uncontested so cross-filing is irrelevant)

Vote for not more than 5 of 5:

  • Edward J. Andres
  • Shawn Welch
  • Michael Karabin
  • Susan Baxter
  • Bryan Eichfeld

Hellertown Borough Council – 4 year term *Contested*

Vote for not more than 3 of 4:

  • Michael McKenna (no campaign web presence)
  • Philip Weber (no campaign web presence)
  • Earl Hill (no campaign web presence)
  • Bill Broun

Hellertown Borough Council – 2 year term *Contested*

Vote for 1 of 4:

  • Matthew S. Marcincin (no campaign web presence)
  • Earl Hill (no campaign web presence)
  • Philip Weber (no campaign web presence)
  • Bill Broun

 

Hellertown Borough for Republican Voters:

Judge of the Superior Court *Contested*

Vote for not more than 2 of 3:

Judge of the Court of Common Pleas *Cross-Filed* (race is uncontested so cross-filing is irrelevant)

  • John M. Morganelli

Northampton County District Attorney

  • Tom Carroll

Northampton County Controller

  • Hayden Phillips

Northampton County Council

  • None running on Republican ticket.

Saucon Valley School Director at Large *All Candidates Cross-Filed* (race is uncontested so cross-filing is irrelevant)

Vote for not more than 5 of 5:

  • Edward J. Andres
  • Shawn Welch
  • Michael Karabin
  • Susan Baxter
  • Bryan Eichfeld

Hellertown Borough Council – 4 year term

Vote for not more than 1 of 3:

  • Andrew Hughes

Hellertown Borough Council – 2 year term

  • None running on Republican ticket.

 

Lower Saucon Township for Democratic Voters:

Judge of the Superior Court *Contested*

Vote for not more than 2 of 3:

Judge of the Court of Common Pleas *Cross-Filed* (race is uncontested so cross-filing is irrelevant)

  • John M. Morganelli

Northampton County District Attorney *Contested*

Vote for 1 of 2:

Northampton County Controller

  • Tony E. Bassil

Northampton County Council

  • Luke Verdes

Saucon Valley School Director at Large *All Candidates Cross-Filed* (race is uncontested so cross-filing is irrelevant)

Vote for not more than 5 of 5:

  • Edward J. Andres
  • Shawn Welch
  • Michael Karabin
  • Susan Baxter
  • Bryan Eichfeld

Lower Saucon Township Council – 4 year term

Vote for not more than 3 of 3:

  • Priscilla deLeon
  • Sarah Stanlick
  • George J. Gress

Lower Saucon Township Council – 2 year term

  • Kaitlyn O’Connor Sommer

 

Lower Saucon For Republican Voters:

Judge of the Superior Court *Contested*

Vote for not more than 2 of 3:

Judge of the Court of Common Pleas *Cross-Filed* (race is uncontested so cross-filing is irrelevant)

  • John M. Morganelli

Northampton County District Attorney

  • Tom Carroll

Northampton County Controller

  • Hayden Phillips

Northampton County Council

  • John Cusick

Saucon Valley School Director at Large *All Candidates Cross-Filed* (race is uncontested so cross-filing is irrelevant)

Vote for not more than 5 of 5:

  • Edward J. Andres
  • Shawn Welch
  • Michael Karabin
  • Susan Baxter
  • Bryan Eichfeld

Lower Saucon Township Council – 4 year term

Vote for not more than 3 of 3:

  • Jason Banonis
  • Sandra Yerger
  • Donna Louder

Lower Saucon Township Council – 2 year term *Contested*

Vote for 1 of 2:

  • Donna Louder (no campaign web presence)
  • Jason Banonis (no campaign web presence)

Verify registration status and locate polling place.

Voters can easily check their registration status and determine their polling location and districts here. This information is also printed on the voter registration card.

Voters can only vote at their registered polling place and for this primary election voters can only vote if they are registered either as a Democrat or Republican. The deadline to register or change party affiliation was April 22.

On primary election day, Tuesday, May 21, polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Voters who have voted before at their polling location do not need to show any ID to vote a regular ballot on Election Day. First-time voters are required to show some form of ID, but it does not need to be a photo ID. Common forms of ID such as a driver’s license or student ID are acceptable. The following is a complete list of acceptable forms of ID for first-time voters:

  • Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card
  • ID issued by any Commonwealth agency
  • ID issued by the U.S. Government
  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. armed Forces ID
  • Student ID
  • Employee ID
  • Confirmation issued by the Northampton County Voter Registration Office
  • Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth that shows name and address
  • Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government that shows name and address
  • Firearm permit
  • Current utility bill that shows name and address
  • Current bank statement that shows name and address
  • Current paycheck that shows name and address
  • Government check that shows name and address

All voters may be asked to show ID at the polls, however, they cannot be stopped from voting a regular ballot if they do not provide a valid ID.

The friendly poll workers and election volunteers at the polling location are the first folks who can help if a voter is having trouble voting or is confused about their registration status. Voters who are turned away because they are not showing as registered, when they believe they are, should ask for a provisional ballot at the polling location. Our local election official for Northampton County is Dee Rumsey: 610-829-6260 or election@northamptoncounty.org. Voters who believe their right to vote has been violated can contact the Election Protection Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE) or the Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline (800-253-3931).

Finding time and making a plan to VOTE

Put election day on the calendar. Decide when on election day is the best time to go vote: morning, lunchtime or afternoon/evening? Babies and children are allowed into the voting booth, so bring them along!

Turnout for these municipal primaries will be low, as it is in almost all municipal elections. In Hellertown borough and Lower Saucon Township there is not likely to be a line at any of the polling locations, no matter what time voters go.

All of the polling locations in Hellertown and Lower Saucon have free parking, sometimes on the street. Resources for free rides to the polls are limited for these off-cycle elections. But if voters really need a ride they can reach out to their local Democratic or Republican party office for help.

In Pennsylvania there is no law requiring that employers offer time off to vote, but many employers in the Lehigh Valley do have time-off to vote policies. Voters should talk to their employer if they need to modify their work schedule in order to vote.

Your vote matters!

It’s true that there are only a couple municipal primary elections that are contested in Hellertown and Lower Saucon. But votes matter a lot in these few. With turnout so low, it’s possible a handful of votes will determine the makeup of the borough and/or township councils. When voters consistently vote in every primary and every general election, they build a muscle memory for this important civic duty.

Be a voter, but better yet, be an informed voter.

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