Yes, there is a Ballot Question this Election

October 28, 2016 | 23 comments | Posted in Voting | Tags:

On Election Day, in addition to the candidates running for office, you will also be asked to vote Yes or No on the following question:

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges, and magisterial district judges be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?

What does this question mean in plain English?

The purpose of the ballot question is to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to require that justices, judges and justices of the peace (known as magisterial district judges) be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years.

Presently, the Pennsylvania Constitution provides that justices, judges and justices of the peace be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70 years. Justices of the peace are currently referred to as magisterial district judges.

If the ballot question were to be approved, justices, judges and magisterial district judges would be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years rather than the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70 years.

This amendment to the mandatory retirement age would be applicable to all judges and justices in the Commonwealth, including the justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, judges of the Commonwealth Court, Superior Court, county courts of common pleas, community courts, municipal courts in the City of Philadelphia, and magisterial district judges.

The ballot question is limited in that it would not amend any other provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution related to the qualification, election, tenure, or compensation of the justices, judges or magisterial district judges.

The effect of the ballot question would be to allow all justices, judges, and magisterial district judges to remain in office until the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years. This would permit all justices, judges, and magisterial district judges to serve an additional five years beyond the current required retirement age.

I Voted


Sherry Brocious

My husband and I already voted by absentee ballot. This is very disturbing to me, as it was NOT made clear. We thought we were voting to retire Federal judges, etc. earlier then the present age. We had no idea this was only for Pa. and that it actually extended the age. We find this very deceptive, as we do the whole mess of government, both state and federal. I wish we had known this before we voted. Hopefully others will see this and realize what this vote is about.

Ellen Cerritelli

This is not in regard to this item but I think Supreme Court justices should only be appointed for a limited term, possibly 10 or 15 years.

Kevin Werner

Anyone who has voted absentee ballot can simply just show up at their regular polling place on Election Day and vote. That will cancel out the absentee ballot.


sherry – according to kevin you can still vote to cancel out your absentee ballot. “”Anyone who has voted absentee ballot can simply just show up at their regular polling place on Election Day and vote. That will cancel out the absentee ballot.””


My opinion? Leaving the retirement age as 70 brings in new blood earlier….most likely liberal. Also these judges will be getting retirement funds for more years. The opposite reasons for extending it to 75: (1) save the state retirement monies and (2) keepje in the “old blood” which may/may not be more conservative.


Sherry, it’s deceptive for a reason. It’s written in a way to make people believe that there are currently no limits, and that by voting for this you will establishing one. Government servants always want more power and for a longer period of time, while the people are trending toward favoring term limits.

If we had a more honest government, the question would have simply asked if we would like to extend the current retirement age requirement from 70 years to 75 years. But they know how that would have turned out, so they play these games with the way they phrase the question.

This got voted down in the primary, but they didn’t like the results, so now they’re taking another shot at it knowing voter turnout in the general election will be higher, and usually with people who generally pay less attention to politics than those who vote in all elections. Of course this also swings the odds toward the outcome they want.


We still have voting to get the bad ones out correct? I was told today at a rally that we need to keep the conservative ones on for another five years….(if they really are conservative that’s the big question) However, they said it’s hard to get conservative ones elected b/c of social issues…. so once we get some they want to keep them longer.
We need to stay more educated and involved to make good choices in the first place.

Kelly Peck

Having parents and in laws in their late 60s to mid 70’s of life I have personally seen how one’s mind can change considerably during these ages. I realize not all people are affected as my relatives have been. Seeing this first hand concerns me about having judges still on the bench well past regular retirement age.


This is a very deceptive way to try and manipulate the outcome of a ballot question. This was already voted on in the primary. The judges currently in office obviously did not like the people’s mandate that they retire at age 70. DO YOU SEE THE NUMBER 70 ANYWHERE IN THIS BALLOT QUESTION??? Of course not, because they want to make us think that 75 is the number already in the system. The obvious answer is to vote NO to this devious effort to confuse and deceive us.

Sherry Brocious

Exactly what we thought! We thought it would limit their age, not increase it! We didn’t realize the age was already set at 70. Guess we all need to be more attentive to reading ballot questions very CAREFULLY. Now, just so everyone knows, my husband and I are “70”……see what happens!!

Eric R Albright

We are damn fools if we allow the 75 yr. retirement age. This is pure and simply a power and money grab. It should be changed to 65 in my opinion.


Wow! Thank you, everyone that responded to this issue. Election is days away and I was confused on this question. Now I understand it and can vote correctly.

Jean Bednar

I can tell you our position on this question: while we believe that wisdom
comes with age, we also know too many folks for whom senility also can show
up in advancing ages. In addition to that, these judges currently are permitted to
serve as “Senior Judges” after age 70, but that does not increase their pensions, which would be the case if their mandatory retirement age were extended to 75. We
don’t know if there’s a test for competence at age 70, but at least currently,
it’s not automatic and deposits into their pensions are discontinued.

Dan Bartkowiak

Rodger – in the same fashion for our voter’s guide that makes no endorsements but offers information about the candidates (, we do not have a position on this question but wanted to make it known about the question and information surrounding it.

Cathy Bozzarelli

PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor will be turning 70 this
December. He has many years of excellent experience and is considered to have a slightly more conservative Republican position. He is one of only two Republican Justices on the PA Supreme Court. Do you think the other five
Liberal Democrat Justices and their constituents would like to see him gone?


I’m very glad that I learned of this site today and visited it. I have learned so much about each of the candidates and especially of the question of judges age being extended! Your comments along with each response has been extremely helpful as I was so confused as to who I should morally vote for… Thank all of you, thank you, and thank you Lord for directing me here!

Lauretta Hill

Thank you for the helpful information on the ballet question for the PA Judges. Thank God for directing me to this website. I will share with my family and friends before they go to votel.

Terry Wise

The yes or no vote is very deceive able. .
There was no mention of 70 year being bump up to 75 year of age for retirement.
I would like to see it repealed
To bring it for a new vote in spring of 2017 with the vote on 70 or 75 year for retirement. No yes or no.

Geraldine A. Wissinger

I questioned this at the booth. I requested to know to which party the Retention candidates were affiliated. They did look & could not find any such information. I was asked, does it really matter. My reply was “YES”, “this is an unfair question, it makes a difference to me. I regret I did not ask their political stand on Pro-Life.


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