What’s on the Ballot

Philadelphia Primary Election: May 21st

Use this tool from the Committee of Seventy to see your customized ballot for the May 21st election based on your address. Click here to access the sample ballot!

Offices on the Ballot


All 17 City Council Members (10 District and 7 At-Large)

Information about the City Council Members:

  • Wide jurisdiction over making policy in the city of Philadelphia
  • Councilmatic prerogative means local district members can block development in their district
  • Power of taxation (like the Soda Tax), school funding, transportation funding, community policing policy 

City Commissioner

Information about the City Commissioner:

  • Three members up for reelection
  • Two Democrats (majority party) and 1 Republican (minority party)
  • Responsible for administering voter registration and conducting elections

Judges for the Court of Common Pleas

Information about the Judge of the Court for Common Pleas:

  • Preside over state trial court
  • Deal with high profile civil cases and serious crimes
  • Elected for 10 year terms



Justice of the Supreme Court

Information about the Justice of the Supreme Court: 

  • Like the US Supreme Court, the PA Supreme Court may choose any case they get to decide, with the exception of some death penalty cases
  • Extreme power over interpretation of PA state law
  • 7 justices, 10 year terms, In 2019 two seats are open



Judge of the Superior Court

Information about the Judge of the Superior Court:

  • One of two PA appellate courts, deals with general appeals cases.
  • 10 year terms with retention vote, in 2019 three seats are up for a retention vote
  • Judges must retire at age 75

Judges for the Municipal Court

Information about the Judges for the Municipial Court: 

  • 27 Judges
  • Local trial court for misdemeanors
  • Has a Criminal Division, the Civil Division, and the Traffic Division (replacing the Philly Traffic Court).
  • Civil has jurisdiction over: small claims, landlord tenant evictions, and civil enforcement claims by the City of Philadelphia for violations of the Philadelphia Code. The maximum principal amount allowed to be filed for is $12,000


Information about the Sheriff:

  • Elected to a four year term
  • Provides basic court-related services such as transporting prisoners, providing courthouse security, and other duties with regard to service of process and summonses that are issued by county and state courts.
  • The sheriff also often conducts auction sales of real property in foreclosure in many jurisdictions.
  • The office is often also empowered to conduct seizures of personal property to satisfy a judgment.

Register of Wills

Information about the Register of Wills:

  • Administration of wills, estates, and probate
  • Divorce
  • Adoption and guardianship of children, and termination of parental rights
  • Name changes
  • Trusts
  • Involuntary commitments
  • Waivers on restrictions for marriage licenses like minimum age of marriages 

Ballot Questions


Ballot Question #1

Bill 180820 asks voters to whether the Home Rule Charter should be amended to change gender-specific references (like CouncilMAN) to gender neutral references (like CouncilMEMBER).

Click here to read Bill 180820. 


Ballot Question #2

Bill 190007 will asks voters whether the Home Rule Charter should be amended to define and establish rules for an Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Click here to read Bill 190007.



Ballot Question #3

Bill 180818 asks if the Home Rule Charter should be amended to create a new class of civil service employees called “Public Safety Enforcement Officers.” These officers would support the Philadelphia Police Department to enforce traffic regulations and ease traffic regulations in and around Center City Philadelphia.

Click here to read Bill 180818.



Ballot Question #4

Bill 190102 asks voters to change the charter to call on state lawmakers to raise the statewide minimum wage or grant Philadelphia the authority to raise the minimum wage by 2025.

Click here to read Bill 190102.