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Three Pa. ballot questions, but one stands out

Pennsylvania voters will find three questions on the ballot Tuesday, though one seeks to abolish an already defunct court and a second won't count.

Pennsylvania voters will find three questions on the ballot Tuesday, though one seeks to abolish an already defunct court and a second won't count.

That leaves only one question of import - a measure that would make the Mayor's Commission on African-American Males, currently a temporary group, permanent.

The question that won't count could have changed the mandatory retirement age for Pennsylvania judges from 70 to 75. But legislators in Harrisburg, who had approved putting the question to voters, recently moved to push the question back to the November election so they could tweak the wording.

Three Democrats challenged that delay in court. A judge this week denied the preliminary injunction they had requested.

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), one of the politicians who challenged the delay, said that because the underlying lawsuit is ongoing, he had concerns about the last-minute switch leading to confusion at the polls.

"Let's not overstate it. It's not the presidential election. There are not going to be riots," he said. "But in terms of the election itself on this very important question, I am very concerned."

The second ballot question would formally abolish Philadelphia Traffic Court, which was shut down by the state legislature in 2013 after a string of scandals.

At that time, the court's duties were transferred to Municipal Court. But references to Traffic Court can be cut from the state constitution only through a ballot question. That is what voters will weigh in on Tuesday.

The third question would allow the city to have a permanent commission to study and address the issues facing black men in Philadelphia.

The Commission on African-American Males was started in 1991 under Mayor W. Wilson Goode Sr. and, after it lapsed, reestablished by Mayor Michael Nutter in 2011.

If made permanent by voters, the commission would have 30 unpaid members appointed by the mayor, at least three of whom would have to be between the ages of 18 and 35.

tnadolny@phillynews.com

215-854-2730

@TriciaNadolny

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