Why Should I Vote?
Did you know that:
• Some elections are won by only a few votes.
• Pennsylvania is very important in U.S. elections.
• Dozens of Lansdowne residents work hard before, during, and after every election to make sure they are fair.
If you vote, you get to complain about the government. If you don’t, you’ve got no right to complain. Use your right to complain: USE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE!
Men and women have died for the right to vote. Our service members put their lives on the line to protect OUR freedom to vote.
Politicians make decisions impacting YOUR life and the lives of your family and friends:
how much you’ll pay in taxes
how much money public schools have
whether or not our country goes to war
which immigrants can or can’t stay in this country
how affordable your health care will be
how fair the justice system is
how polluted the water and air are
how seniors citizens are doing
how hard it is to make a living
whether college or trade school is affordable
whether our roads, bridges, and railways are safe
Which court would decide about this?
Use the pyramid graphic about PA courts to figure out
which court would decide about each of these situations.
>I was late paying my rent. While I was at work, my landlord came into my apartment and took my big TV as payment. I don’t think he’s allowed to just barge in while I’m not there, and besides, I paid a lot more for the TV than the amount of a late fee for the rent.
Answer: Minor (Magisterial) court -- the amount of money involved is relatively low.
>Police served a warrant and found 48 stolen guns inside someone’s house.
Answer: Court of Common Pleas -- the number of guns suggests gun trafficking, which is a first degree felony in Pennsylvania.
>A father claims that his children’s mother is a drug addict and incompetent to share custody of the children with him.
Answer: Court of Common Pleas -- this court handles all cases pertaining to children.
>A pair of longtime friends started a construction business together. The business failed, and now one of them is suing the other for $250,000 for negligence in billing customers.
Answer: Court of Common Pleas -- the high amount of money involved makes this a major civil case.
>A man was found guilty of violently shaking his girlfriend’s toddler. The man’s lawyer has found new evidence that the expert medical witness in the case had failed to indicate that he is related to the girlfriend. The man and his lawyer want the case reviewed for bias in the expert medical witness’s testimony.
Answer: Superior Court -- this is the court of appeals for criminal and civil cases that do not involve government agencies.
>A neighborhood association sued a non-profit organization to try to block the building of a facility for recovering addicts. The neighborhood association lost in court but wishes to have the case reconsidered based on the concept that the non-profit group is functioning on behalf of the city government and therefore is an arm of that city’s government. The neighborhood association believes that laws pertaining to governments should have been applied, not just laws pertaining to non-profits.
Answer: Commonwealth Court -- this is the court of appeals for criminal and civil cases that involve government agencies.
>The Pennsylvania Legislature passed a law prohibiting teens from having large gatherings to protest marijuana laws. A group is taking this law to court, hoping to have it overturned.
Answer: PA Supreme Court -- this court decides whether or not a law passed by the state legislature goes against the Pennsylvania Constitution; in this case, the issue is whether the law violates the state Constitution’s guarantee of the right of assembly.
If you're interested in learning more about the issues impacted by elections, check out A Starting Point.
So why vote?
Because it’s in your own self-interest,
it helps your community,
and it’s the Lansdowne thing to do.