The 2022 primary election will be held on May 17.
This year, voters in Philadelphia will be asked to answer four ballot questions. Two would result in immediate changes on how the city government functions and two would modify gendered language in the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter and related educational supplements.
You can also check out our full voters’ guide for information about key races and who’s on your ballot.
Here’s what the ballot questions are and what they mean.
If you’ve ever applied to the Department of Licenses and Inspections for a zoning permit, and they denied or referred you, the Zoning Board of Adjustment would be your next step. Currently, the board is made up of five people, appointed by the mayor, who do not need to have any specific qualifications to be there.
If approved, the number of board members would increase to seven, including an urban planner, an architect, a lawyer with zoning experience, a person with experience in the construction industry, and at least two community leaders. The mayor can still suggest people, but City Council would have to agree to members before they are appointed.
The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter sets the powers, functions, and responsibilities of those in government. Right now, the language assumes that mostly everyone in power is a man, or generally cisgender (except for Council members, whose titles became gender neutral in 2019).
If approved, all gender references would be gender neutral, meaning changes like “firefighters” instead of “firemen,” or “police officers” instead of “policemen.”
The city’s Home Rule Charter has a section setting rules for the school district and Board of Education. Currently, the supplement is written as though everyone in charge is a man.
If approved, all education related titles in the supplement would become gender neutral. So the superintendent, president of the Board of Education, and school auditor would no longer be referred to as “he/him.”
The Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission administers and enforces laws related to unfair rental practices and other issues affecting landlords and tenants. Even though it’s been around since 1962, it’s not technically part of the City’s Home Rule Charter and could potentially be removed.