Democracy Rising Pennsylvania on why Tuesday election was a victory for citizens:
- Voters had access to more and better information about judicial candidates than at any time in recent memory. Two years ago, voters knew very little, and no one was seriously trying to inform them. This year saw sincere and sustained efforts by Capitolwire, the Pennsylvania Cable Network, newspapers and public interest groups to educate voters. For the first time, voters could cast votes about judges that were informed by a variety of perspectives. Two years from now, judicial elections will be even better. Integrity advocates will do a better job of educating citizens about key issues; candidates will do a better job of communicating with voters; and media will do a better job of stimulating interest in these vitally important elections.
- Citizens still want to see sweeping improvements in their state government. The proof is in the margins of victory for retention candidates. Elections that used to be 80-20 sleepers have become far closer contests, in spite of massive campaign spending by historic standards. Lawmakers who take comfort in Supreme Court Justice Tom Saylor’s retention victory, believing that they can return to the bad old days, are deluding themselves and will regret it. They’re much easier targets than judges,
and they’ve given voters much better ammunition. See Reality Check, above.
- The unraveling scandals in the Capitol will not go away. Although it’s too early to tell for sure, it appears that voter turnout continues to exceed expectations since the Pay Raise of 2005. Here in Cumberland County, for example, turnout was 28 percent — abysmal by ideal standards but much higher than a typical off-year election — even without hot local contests. If this holds up statewide, it will be another very good sign.