On May 16, 2017, in the Democratic primary, Delaware County Democrats defeated a Republican in the Democratic primary. How did this happen?
Kelly Eckel was the only Democratic nominee for the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. However, Republican Jack Whelan (current Delaware County District Attorney) was also on the Democratic primary because he cross-filed, meaning his name appeared on both the Republican and the Democratic ballots. In Pennsylvania, candidates for Common Pleas Court judgeships, as well as magisterial district judgeships and school board seats, can file to appear on both party ballots. When their names are listed on the opposite party’s ballot, their party affiliation is not indicated, which means Democratic voters may innocently vote for cross-filing Republicans. It is logical to assume that everyone on the Democratic primary ballot is, in fact, a Democrat.
We can be proud that Kelly Eckel received over 19,000 votes, while the Republican posing as a Democrat only received about 7,600 votes. We need to continue to publicize every cross-filed candidate before every primary election until such time as the law in Pennsylvania is changed to end that unusual practice, found in very few states.