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Deciphering the voting ballot in Media, May 17th, 2011

May 16

Deciphering the voting ballot in Media, May 17th, 2011

Tuesday, May 17th is primary election day, where Republicans and Democrats come out to choose who gets to run in the general election in November.

Media Residents will get to choose candidates for Media Borough Council, Rose Tree Media School Board, Court of Common Pleas, Commonwealth Court, and County Council.

Many of these races are uncontested, meaning regardless of how you vote, the candidates will run in November. Read on to learn about what difference your vote can make for uncontested races.

Some elections are considered “non-partisan,” such as School Board and Judge elections. Most candidates do something called “cross-filing” where they file to be placed on both the Democratic and the Republican primary ballot.

The issue with this is that any individual candidate who is eliminated in the primary (regardless of party) does not go on to run in November, and it becomes difficult to determine who is who. Having a primary for non-partisan positions seems unusual since the Primary is all about party politics.

And in addition, the position on the ballot has a lot to do with who wins or does not win. The ballot position is supposedly a random process, but this year Republicans have taken most of the top positions on the ballot for the non-partisan races in particular. Studies have shown that ballot positions (specifically, top ballot positions) are tied with winning elections.

So, here is a cheat sheet to determine who is who in tomorrow’s election (Blue is Democrat, Red is Republican):

Rose Tree Media School Board

Republican Ballot Democratic Ballot
O’DONNELL, Wiliam J. (A20) HANNA, John (B20)
FRONDUTI, Nancy (A21) SCHNEIDER, Elizabeth A. (B21)
SCHNEIDER, Elizabeth A. (A22) NEE, John (B22)
HANNA, John (A23) O’DONNELL, William J. (B23)
GUILDAY, Chris P. (A24) FRONDUTI, Nancy (B24)
LIS, Janet M. (A25) COYNE, Jim (B25)
COYNE, Jim (A26) LIS, Janet M. (B26)
NEE, John (A27)


Judge of the Court of Common Pleas

This year, the Democratic candidates chose not to cross filewith the assumption that it would make their party affiliation clearer:

Republican Ballot Democratic Ballot
FIZZANO CANNON, Christine (A5) ANGELOS, Spiros E. (B5)
CAPUZZI SR, John P. (A6) SCHLEIGH, Michael F. (B6)
ANGELOS, Spiros E. (A7) FIZZANO CANNON, Christine (B7)
GREEN, G. Michael (A8) CAPUZZI SR, John P. (B8)
NICHOLS, Nathaniel C. (A9) NICHOLS, Nathaniel C. (B9)
GREEN, G. Michael (B10)
DEMARCO, G. Lawrence (B11)
HECKERT BIKIN, Sally Ann (B12)

Also note that Nathanial Nichols (A9,B9) is endorsed by both the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party in Delaware County, which certainly is a testament to his impartiality to both parties.

Contested, but Partisan, Elections

Judge of the Superior Court

Republicans get to choose one candidate to run in November:

Republican Ballot Democratic Ballot
STABILE, Vic (A1) WECHT, David N. (B1)
PATRICK, Paula A. (A2)

Judge of the Commonwealth Court

Republicans and Democrats get to choose one candidate to run in November:

Republican Ballot Democratic Ballot
PANEPINTO, Paul P. (A3) BOOCKVAR, Kathryn (B3)
COVEY, Anne (A4) ERNSBERGER, Barbara Behrend (B4)

Council Media Borough

Democrats will get to choose 3 of 4 candidates for Media Borough Council:

Republican Ballot Democratic Ballot
ALYANAKIAN, Pete (A37) HALL, Brian (B37)
O’HARA, Tedman L. (A39) RICKER, Roger (B39)
DAVIDSON, Kent (B40)

[Editors note: Full disclosure, DAVIDSON, Kent is the author of this site]

Uncontested Elections

Note that for uncontested elections, your vote makes a rather subtle difference: The winner in the primary with the most votes are placed, in order, by number of votes they receive on the fall ballot. So, if you want Candidate X to be placed first on the ballot in November, vote for them and just them in the uncontested race. If their numbers are greatest at the end of the election, they will be placed first on their respective ballot in November. Note, again, how ballot position (and first ballot position) is a huge advantage in an election.

County Council

Republican Ballot Democratic Ballot
MCBLAIN, John P. (A13) COLLINS, Keith (B13)
MORRONE, Colleen P. (A14) FLOYD, Lin Axamethy (B14)
MCGARRIGLE, Thomas J. (A15) YOUNG, Jayne (B15)

District Attorney

Republican Ballot Democratic Ballot
WHELAN, Jack (A16) BROWN, M. Kendall (B16)


  1. Chickadee /

    How do the ballot positions get chosen? Why are the Republicans winding up, in general, at the top on the Democratic side, when they can? Did they make a pact with… somebody?

  2. TheRyck /

    Can independents vote in this primary?

    • Median /

      Unfortunately, no … Primaries are all about party politics and “independents” are essentially “none of the above.” Independents will get to vote in the general election in November.

      • Monica Simpson /

        The goal of the primary election is to have both major parties have candidates to choose from in the general election where you can vote for any candidate of any party.

        What may be confusing to some in a rimary election, is that with a petition, endorsement to be on the Primary ballot, any candidate may ‘cross file’ and appear on both the Republican and Democratic ballot.

        In the Primary, ballot position is luck of the draw. In the General Election, ballot position is based on number of votes received in the Primary.

  3. Mike Schleigh /

    The ballot postion is determined by a lottery that occurs after all petitions for a position have been checked – for judges, the Secretary of State’s office conducts the lottery.

    • Median /

      For County Council, School Board, and Municipal races, I’ve heard that it is done by the county board of elections and the process is simply a basket of numbered balls held above the head of each candidate or a designee. Apparently the County announced the draw date by putting a notice in the Delco Times classifieds, and one other local paper.

  4. And that is why I advise everyone I know to register as either Democrat or….Democrat.