Iraida Afanador.

On Tuesday, October 24, 2023, Pennsylvania for Modern Courts (PMC) held a virtual session with over four hundred attendees. The purpose was to hear the responses of Pennsylvania judicial candidates to the participant’s issues related to questions posed to candidates running for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, Common Pleas Court, and Municipal/Magistrate Court system.

Present was Judge Matt Wolfe, a Democrat candidate running for Common Pleas Court, and

Attorney Megan Martin, a Republican candidate, hailing from Cumberland County, vying for a seat on the Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court. Four candidates are running for two open seats in Superior Court: Attorney Maria Battista, Judge Harry Smail (both Republicans), Attorney Jill Beck, and Judge Timika Lane (both Democrats).

Currently, the high court with a total of seven seats has a Democrat majority of four justices.

The remaining two justices were elected as Republicans. In the upcoming election for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Democrat Candidate, Judge Danel McCafferty and Republican Candidate, Judge Carolyn Carluccio.

Each candidate was asked about their background, and how it would affect their decision-making, once elected. They all generically said that their personal and political background does come into the courtroom, and that the rule of law is what drives the court system, and they would be fair, and impartial.

The CEO of PMC, Ms. Debra Gross, emphasized the organization’s dedication to a fair and accessible judicial process in Pennsylvania.

PMC has tirelessly advocated for judicial reforms that uphold the rule of law, ensure access to justice, and establish a diverse, qualified, and independent judiciary. PMC aims to create an inclusive and fair legal environment that upholds democratic principles and safeguards the rights of all individuals, regardless of their background or social status.

These reforms are necessary due to historical disparities and discrepancies that have hindered equal access to justice in Pennsylvania’s judiciary system.

It is crucially important for us, as Latino citizens, to acknowledge our quality of life, in terms of public safety, is greatly impacted by our Judiciary system. The process can be overwhelming to comprehend. Unfortunately, because only 30 percent of voters participate in odd-numbered years, a small majority hold all the power in making decisions that impact our daily lives.

This year, the significance of voting on November 7th is heightened compared to previous election years in both our nation and state. Furthermore, our state court system holds a greater influence in our communities compared to any other judicial system. 

Remember to cast your vote on November 7. Encourage eligible family members over 18 to join you at the polls. Spread the word to your neighbors and friends, urging them to participate in the electoral process.

Familiarize yourself with the designated voting locations and don’t forget to bring your identification, including your driver’s license and your Social Security number (or card), to ensure your vote is properly recorded.

Esta historia es parte de Every Voice, Every Vote, un proyecto colaborativo administrado por The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. El apoyo principal lo proporciona la Fundación William Penn con fondos adicionales del Instituto Lenfest, Peter y Judy Leone, la Fundación John S., James L. Knight, Harriet y Larry Weiss, y la Fundación Wyncote, entre otros. Para obtener más información sobre el proyecto y ver una lista completa de colaboradores, visite El contenido editorial se crea independientemente de los donantes del proyecto.


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