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Who’s on your primary ballot, May 21, 2019

Not sure who’s on the ballot this year? Can’t keep your Common Pleas Court and your Magisterial District Judge candidates straight? Read on. For a smaller, print-friendly version of this list, click here. UPDATE: for information on the Owen J. Roberts school board races, click here.

Candidates (vote for two):

  • Amanda Green-Hawkins (endorsed by PA Dems)
  • Daniel McCaffery (endorsed by PA Dems)
  • Beth Tarasi
The Superior Court is a statewide court which typically hears civil and criminal appeals from county-level courts. In most cases, its decisions are final. There are a total of fifteen judges on the court (of which currently six are Democrats and eight are Republicans, with one vacancy), and they usually hear cases in panels of three, in either Harrisburg, Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh.
The candidates (vote for two):

  • Thomas Patrick McCabe (crossfiled Republican)
  • Charles A. Gaza (crossfiled Republican)
  • Andrea Cardamone (crossfiled Republican)
  • Daniel Maisano (Democrat)
  • Analisa Sondergaard (Democrat, endorsed by Chester County Democratic Committee)
  • Bret Binder (Democrat, endorsed by CCDC)
“The Courts of Common Pleas are the general trial courts of Pennsylvania.” (Source: PACourts.)

“The Court of Common Pleas of Chester County is a general jurisdiction trial court located in West Chester, Pennsylvania…. There are 11 full time judges and 2 senior judges. The judges hear a wide spectrum of cases, including adult and juvenile criminal prosecutions, lawsuits involving money or property, divorce, custody disputes, child support issues, adoptions, and estates.” (Source:

Note: candidates for the Court of Common Pleas may crossfile, which means that some of the candidates on the Democratic primary ballot will be Republicans, and vice-versa.
Candidates (vote for two):

  • Kathy Cozzone (incumbent)
  • Ginny Kerslake
  • Josh Maxwell (endorsed by CCDC)
  • Marian Moskowitz
“The three-member Board of Commissioners constitutes the chief governing body of the county. The board, together with its executive staff, manages a large and diverse organization whose mission is to provide quality government services in an efficient, cost effective manner. Elected every four years, the commissioners are responsible for policy making, fiscal management, and the administration of county affairs.” (Source:
  • Deb Ryan (unopposed, endorsed by CCDC)
“The core functions of the District Attorney’s Office are to investigate, prosecute, and prevent crimes.” (Source:
The candidates:

  • Joe Lunsford
  • Fredda Maddox (endorsed by CCDC)
  • Mike Sarro
  • Dan Boyle
“The Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the County… While a sheriff’s primary responsibilities are to the courts, s/he has arrest powers and the authority to enforce the criminal and vehicle laws of Pennsylvania.” (Source:
The candidates:

  • Debbie Bookman
  • Joe Heffern

Note: CCDC did not endorse in this race.

“The Prothonotary handles the civil side of the county courts administration, as well as passports. S/he is the legal custodian of all civil instruments filed with the Court of Common Pleas, in accordance with the laws of civil procedure of the Commonwealth and the Chester County Rules of Court. S/he maintains accurate and secure indices and dockets, and makes documents available to the public.” (Source:
The candidates:

  • Lisa Longo
  • Michelle Vaughn

Note: CCDC did not endorse in this race.

“The Register of Wills is responsible for probating wills and granting letters of administration in cases where persons die without leaving a will. The Register has jurisdiction over and maintains records of wills, inventory of estates and other miscellaneous documents. The Register is the Commonwealth’s agent for the collection of the state inheritance tax. The Clerk of the Orphans’ Court accepts filings for Orphans’ Court matters as well as the required inventory and annual reports filed by court-appointed guardians of an adult person who has been adjudicated incapacitated.” (Source:
  • Chris Pielli (unopposed, endorsed by CCDC)
“The Mission of the Recorder of Deeds office is to preserve the integrity, accuracy and continuity of the designated public land records of the County Of Chester so that the public and businesses who work with these records can obtain accurate, timely information as efficiently as possible and thus can secure property ownership and engage in business involving real estate with confidence, now and in the future.” (Source:
  • James C Kovaleski (unopposed)
“They handle landlord-tenant matters, small civil claims (cases involving amount in controversy up to $12,000), summary offenses, violations of municipal ordinances, and preliminary hearings and arraignments in greater misdemeanor and felony offenses pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Rules of Criminal Procedure which go on to be tried in the courts of common pleas. In some counties, such as Chester County, magisterial district courts may issue emergency protection from abuse orders when the Family Court Administration offices of the courts of common pleas are closed. Magisterial district judges do not have to be lawyers; however, those who are not lawyers are required to complete a certification course prior to serving.” (Source: Wikipedia.) They may also perform marriage ceremonies. Formerly known as “justices of the peace.” Six-year terms.
The candidates (vote for no more than five; you may vote for fewer than five)

  • Michele Schamis (Democrat)
  • Ayisha Sereni (Democrat)
  • Jerome Weiss (Democrat)
  • David R Golberg (crossfiled Republican)
  • Laura Reed (Democrat)
Note: candidates for school board may crossfile, which means that some of the candidates on the Democratic primary ballot will be Republicans, and vice-versa.

For more information, visit Indivisible Chester County or the Chester County Democrats.

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