The 2020 Pennsylvania primary was once one of the most anticipated elections of the year, with high stakes in the presidential race. Now, due to COVID-19, an early end to the Democratic presidential primary, and a rescheduled date, it’s easy to forget that there is an election at all.

But this primary is still important, setting up the November matchups between Republicans and Democrats for critical positions in our state government. These include General Assembly seats and three statewide offices: Attorney General, Auditor General, and Treasurer. There are also two city charter amendments on the ballot.

The coronavirus had made voting a bit different this year. While the deadline to request a mail-in ballot now passed, it is still critical for the ballots to be received by the county’s election office by 5 p.m. on Election Day. The earlier they are mailed in, the better. Philadelphia will also have fewer voting locations than usual, so if you are planning to vote in person, make sure that you know where your new location is — and don’t forget to bring a mask.

Prior to each election, the Inquirer’s editorial board, which operates independently from the newsroom, identifies the races where an endorsement can help readers understand where candidates stand on issues and why we think voters should support (or not support) a particular candidate. Then, the board hosts meetings with candidates running in contended races. We take this job seriously and spend time researching the candidates’ backgrounds through the work of our newsroom colleagues as well as through our own reporting.

The editorial board had the capacity to endorse in two races: one city and one suburban state Senate seat, whose incumbents are facing their first challenger. All four candidates in these races were interviewed by the board via Zoom. In addition, the editorial board discussed the two ballot questions with experts and deliberated in order to provide you with our recommendations.

Got questions about this process? Email us at opinion@philly.com.

Larry Farnese during the zoom endorsement meeting with The Inquirer's editorial board and reporter Chris Brennan.
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Larry Farnese during the zoom endorsement meeting with The Inquirer's editorial board and reporter Chris Brennan.

Pennsylvania’s 1st State Senate District

A member of the Democratic leadership team, Larry Farnese has been a progressive voice that has advocated for workers in his district. He is taking a role in developing plans for contact tracing and further testing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Farnese also introduced legislation to extend the eviction moratorium until after the crisis and ensure paid leave for workers.

Amanda Cappelletti during the zoom endorsement meeting with The Inquirer's editorial board.
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Amanda Cappelletti during the zoom endorsement meeting with The Inquirer's editorial board.

Pennsylvania’s 17th State Senate District

Running against an incumbent who lost his own party’s support, Amanda Cappelletti brings a fresh view and an impressive resume to Harrisburg. Cappelletti is running on a progressive platform. She also has a master’s in public health. It’s hard to think of a more relevant credential to this moment.

Ballot Questions

On June 2nd, voters will also vote on two ballot questions. Here are the Editorial Board’s recommendations:

  • Department of Labor: Yes
  • Political activity: Yes