Voters in Allegheny County might not recognize many of the names on the ballot for the May 21 primary election, but they're worth knowing. While not as well covered as the 2018 primaries or the upcoming 2020 presidential election, off-year primaries in many ways have an even more significant impact on daily life. This year, half of the Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Council seats are up for grabs, as is the seat for Allegheny County District Attorney. There are also school board seats and local borough councilors and mayoral slots to fill.
Issues like neighborhood street design and how our region reduces greenhouse gases are mostly solved in Pittsburgh City Council chambers, not the White House. In a city that is struggling with gentrification and rising housing costs, the solutions start at the City-County Building in Downtown, not at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Air pollution, of which our region gets consistently low grades, is mostly a county government problem. The governor or a congressman is less likely to affect the heavy industry that pollutes our air, than a county councilor or county official.
In the wake of the Antwon Rose II shooting, not to mention the ongoing problems at the Allegheny County Jail, reform in the county’s criminal justice system feels vital. But knowing who the District Attorney is and what they believe is more important than following Kim Kardashian’s efforts to the same goal.
On the links below, we've created side-by-side comparison charts of some of Pittsburgh's biggest and most contentious elections of this primary season. Allegheny County overwhelmingly votes for Democrats, especially in the city of Pittsburgh, so most races will be decided in the primary as many candidates lack Republican or independent challengers. For a full list of what you can expect on your ballot, visit alleghenycounty.civicengine.com.
So, brush up, learn about the candidates, and get to polls on Tuesday to cast those votes.