Pennsylvania Voters Opt to Strip Gov. Wolf of Emergency Powers
PA. voters opted to strip Gov. Tom Wolf (D) of his emergency powers, according to unofficial results of the state’s May 18 municipal primary elections, several outlets reported on Wednesday.
Pennsylvania voters faced a handful of statewide questions on their ballot for the municipal primary elections, which were held May 18. Two of the questions related directly to the governor’s emergency powers. One asked if the state constitution should be amended to:
…change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration — and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration — through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval.
The other question asked voters if the state constitution should be amended to make disaster emergency declarations automatically expire after three weeks, or 21 days, “regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency.”
Several media outlets, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, reported that Pennsylvania voters approved the two ballot measures, describing it as a “victory for Republican lawmakers in what was widely seen as a referendum on the Wolf administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
According to the Morning Call, Wednesday morning figures showed voters leaning toward altering the governor’s emergency powers “with margins of nearly 54% to 46% on both questions”:
About 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, unofficial, incomplete returns on the state website had voting on the first question — the one concerning ending or extending a declaration — at 1,031,128 voting “yes” and 892,093 voting “no,” or a margin of 53.61% to 46.39%.
The voting on the other question was 1,039,897 yes votes to 900,920 no votes, a margin of 53.58% to 46.42%.
According to Philadelphia 10, the questions continued to lead with nearly 54 percent of the vote and 73 percent of precincts reporting: