Your Guide to Voting in the May 17th Primary Election

How is this different from the general election? Do the candidates with the most votes get the position?

Primary elections such as the May 17th election come before the general elections that determine who will be the next Senator, Governor, etc. 

In Pennsylvania primaries, you can only vote for the candidates in the same political party you have named in your voter registration. For example, if you registered to vote as a member of the Republican Party then you can vote in the Republican primary, but not the Democratic primary. You may vote for either party in the general election.

Primary elections mean candidates are running against other candidates in their own party. Whoever wins each party’s primary election will move on to the general election, where the Democratic and Republican candidate who won the primary election will run against one another for the position. 

The general election will be November 8, 2022.

Why should I vote in this election?

Primary elections affect you as a voter and citizen in many ways. They give you the opportunity to decide who from a pool of candidates should be nominated by your political party to run in the general election. Based on voter turnout and primary results, parties may devote more or less attention and resources towards certain demographics, states, and issues. In Ward 40 that takes up the majority of Southwest, the November 2021 general election turnout was 15.66%, while the city average was 21.88%.

Candidates who receive mass support but don’t end up winning primary elections can still sometimes influence the winning candidate and the platform that they take to the general election.

Can I vote in this election?

If you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania as either a Democrat or Republican, you can most likely vote in this election. If you are registered Independent, you may not vote in the primaries. Pennsylvania is one of the 9 states that don’t allow voters registered as Independent to vote in the primaries. 

To check your voter registration status, go to or scan the QR code under “Helpful Links” labeled “check your registration status”.

What positions are we voting for on May 17th?

Three of the races are statewide, meaning no matter where in Pennsylvania you live you will be able to vote in these races. 

For each race, you will only choose one candidate

Your ballot will only show the candidates that are running under the same party you are registered to. 

*Candidates are listed in order of ballot number.


  • Pennsylvania US Senator
    • Democratic
      • Alex Khalil
      • Conor Lamb
      • Malcolm Kenyatta
      • John Fetterman
    • Republican
      • Kathy Barnette
      • Mehmet Oz
      • George Bochetto
      • Jeff Bartos
      • Dave McCormick
      • Sean Gale
      • Carla Sands
  • Pennsylvania Governor
    • Democratic
      • Josh Shapiro
    • Republican
      • Lou Barletta
      • Douglas V Mastriano
      • Nche Zama
      • Dave White
      • Melissa Hart
      • Billie McSwain
      • Charlie Gerow
      • Joe Gale
      • Jake Corman
  • Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor
    • Democratic
      • Austin Davis
      • Ray Sosa
      • Brian Sims
    • Republican
      • Charice Schillinger
      • James Earl Jones
      • Rick Saccone
      • John Brown
      • Chris Frye
      • Jeff Coleman
      • Russ Diamond
      • Carrie Lewis DelRosso
      • Teddy Daniels

District specific:

  1. Pennsylvania US Representative
  2. Pennsylvania State Representative
  3. Pennsylvania State Senator

All voters can vote on:

  • constitutional amendments,
  • ballot questions, and
  • any special election contests held at the same time as a primary election.

You may have other races you are able to vote in based on your address. Visit the website below to see your ballot.

Who/what will be on my ballot?

While the statewide races are not based on where in Pennsylvania you live, the other races are!

To see your own ballot:

This website allows you to see who exactly will be on your ballot by entering your address and registered political party. You can even compare candidates, many of which have responded to questions such as the issues they will prioritize and their views on issues such as climate change.

There are also ballot questions, which can be explained in more detail by scanning the QR code under “Helpful Links” labeled “ballot questions”.

Where do I go to vote?

Visit the state’s website and enter your home information in order to find your polling place. or scan the QR code under “Helpful Links” labeled “find your voting place”.

Polling place hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Do I need an ID to vote?

First time voters are required to show some form of ID, but it does not need to be a photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID are:

  • Pennsylvania driver’s license or PENNDOT ID card
  • ID issued by any Commonwealth agency
  • ID issued by the US Government
  • US Passport
  • US armed Forces ID
  • Student ID
  • Employee ID
  • Confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office
  • Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth that shows name and address
  • Non-photo ID issued by the US Government that shows name and address
  • Firearm permit
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check that shows name and address

All voters may be asked to show ID at the polls, however, you cannot be stopped from voting a regular ballot if you do not provide a valid ID.

The data in this guide is for informational purposes only. Any links to non-Southwest CDC information are provided as a courtesy. They are not intended to nor do they constitute an endorsement by Southwest CDC of the linked materials.

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