The city’s mayoral race has been the primary focus leading up to the 2023 municipal election, but Philadelphians will also have the chance to vote for a ballot measure and a number of other positions, including a Pennsylvania Supreme Court successor, two intermediate appellate court judges, City Council seats and judicial offices and retentions.
Positions on the ballot aside from the mayoral race are also important, said Kamira Rahman, a field organizer with NextGen America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan political action committee that registers young people to vote on college campuses.
“There’s a lot going on with different issues, like climate change, crime, health care, poverty, we see a lot of homeless people in Philly, so all those issues are technically on the ballot because we’re voting in people who are trying to decide policies to fix those issues,” said Rahaman, a 2023 political science alumna.
Here’s what’s on the ballot on Nov. 7.
Philadelphia Ballot Measure
Voters will receive one question on their ballot about amending the city’s Home Rule Charter to create a permanent Office for People with Disabilities.
The office, which was temporarily established by Mayor Jim Kenney in 2015, aims to improve accessibility to Philadelphia’s disability services and programs and provide resources to disability organizations.
The ballot measure, proposed by Councilmember Kendra Brooks with Kenney’s support, would make it a permanent part of the city’s government.
“With over 16 percent of Philadelphians living with one or more disabilities, we all know someone who is affected,” wrote Brooks, in a statement to The Temple News. “I want our city to be accessible for all of us, and establishing a permanent Office for People with Disabilities is an important step.”
State Supreme Court Justice
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the highest court in the state, interpreting Pennsylvania’s laws and Constitution to make final legal decisions. Typically, municipal elections only concern city positions, but this year’s election will also decide who succeeds Justice Max Baer, who died in September 2022.
Democrat Daniel McCaffery will face Republican Carolyn Carluccio. The court currently has a 4-2 Democratic majority.
McCaffery, an army veteran and 1991 Beasley alumnus, was elected judge of the state’s Superior Court in 2019. McCaffery supports protecting reproductive and voting rights.
Carluccio, who has been a judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas since 2009, opposes abortion and is endorsed by anti-choice groups PA Pro-Life Federation and Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania.
Intermediate Appellate Courts
The intermediate appellate courts are composed of the Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court. The Superior Court deals with appeals in criminal and civil cases, while the Commonwealth Court handles civil actions brought by and against the state.
In the Superior Court, which is made up of 15 judges, voters will choose who should hold the available two seats among four candidates. Maria Battista and Harry Smail Jr. are both running as Republicans, while Jill Beck and Timika Lane are running as Democrats.
In the Commonwealth Court, Republican candidate Megan Martin, who has served as an attorney for the Navy and two former Republican governors, will face Democrat Matt Wolf, who has been a judge on the Philadelphia Municipal Court since 2017, for one open seat. Both candidates were recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Court of Common Pleas Judge
Voters will select 13 candidates for the Court of Common Pleas, which hears major civil and criminal cases.
Here are the 13 candidates for Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas, all of whom are Democrats:
Municipal Court Judge
The Municipal Court, the lowest tier of Philadelphia’s judicial system, hears preliminary hearings and arraignments and decides which cases need to be sent to the Court of Common Pleas.
Voters will choose two Municipal Court judges between Democrats Colleen McIntyre Osborne and Barbara Thomson and Republican Rania Major.
The City Controller conducts audits of the mayor and City Council’s operations as well as the School District of Philadelphia. They are independent of the city and certify Philadelphia’s debt capacity.
This year’s special election for the office comes after former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart decided to leave her position to run for mayor.
Democrat Christy Brady, who has more than 28 years of experience in the Controller’s Office, will run against Republican Aaron Bashir to become Philadelphia’s next controller.
Register of Wills
Philadelphia’s Register of Wills, which is elected to a four-year term, issues marriage licenses, verifies the validity of wills and issues letters of administration when someone dies without a will.
Republican Linwood Holland will face Democrat John Sabatina in the race for the position.
Philadelphia’s Sheriff’s Office provides security for the First Judicial Court’s courtrooms and manages court-ordered foreclosures and tax sales. The incumbent Democrat Rochelle Bilal will be challenged by Republican Mark Lavelle.
City Council at Large
There are 17 members of Philadelphia City Council, which enacts the city’s laws and approves its operating budget. Seven of those councilmembers are elected “at-large,” meaning they represent the whole city.
Voters will choose five of nine candidates for the open “at-large” seats.
Isaiah Thomas (D)
Katherine Gilmore Richardson (D)
Rue Landau (D)
Nina Ahmad (D)
Jim Harrity (D)
Drew Murray (R)
Jim Hasher (R)
Kendra Brooks (Working Families Party)
Nicolas O’Rourke (Working Families Party)
Voters will also pick their district’s council members. Of the 10 district elections, eight are uncontested. In District 3, Jabari Jones will face the incumbent Jamie Gauthier. Gary Masiano will run against incumbent Brian O’Neill in District 10.
Editor’s Note: Advertisements for NextGenAmerica have previously appeared in The Temple News. They played no role in the editing or writing of this story.