Midterm elections 2022: How to vote in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Illustration of a white podium that transforms into a voting booth and then three campaign signs, over a divided red and blue background.

Image: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Election day is November 8th. Get ready to cast your vote with this overview of how to register, where to vote, and what to expect in Philly.

Why it matters: Pennsylvania is a battleground state where margins are often tight and statewide races depend on turnout — particularly in choosy Philadelphia.

  • Pennsylvania’s US Senate campaign is critical in determining whether Democrats or Republicans will win a majority in the chamber.
How to vote in the 2022 midterm elections

Key Dates:

  • 24 Oct: The last day to register for voting.
  • November 1 at 5 p.m.: The deadline for requesting a postal or absentee ballot. You can also collect your absentee ballot from the district election office in the town hall, room 140.

What to expect: Philly voters ballot may vary depending on where they live in the city, as there are district and city councils, state representatives and state senators, and congressional elections.

postal vote: If you’re voting by mail, your ballot must arrive by 8 p.m. on November 8th.

  • You can drop off your ballot in the mail, in person at the county ballot office, or at any of the official mailboxes located throughout the city.

On election day: Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find your polling place on the city’s website.

  • Philly voters only need to identify themselves the first time they vote in a new division. See valid IDs on the city’s website.
  • Voters requesting absentee ballots cannot vote at a voting machine on Election Day without handing in their ballot along with the declaration envelope. If you don’t bring it with you, you can still cast a provisional vote.

Be smart: Visit the Pennsylvania State Department’s website to check your registration status and the status of your ballot.

Remember: If you see anything of concern on Election Day, call the Election Hotline at (215) 686-1590 or the city Attorney’s Office at (215) 686-9641.

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we broke down All the state races and election questions for you below.

Pennsylvania Governor: Josh Shapiro (D) vs. Doug Mastriano (R)
Photo illustration of a blue toned Josh Shapiro and a red toned Doug Mastriano separated by a white halftone line.
Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Attorney General Josh Shapiro and State Senator Doug Mastriano will compete in the gubernatorial race, which is one of the most watched contests in the country.

Catch up fast: Shapiro, a Democrat, has supported access to abortion, increased funding for education and expanded access to voters.

  • Mastriano, a Republican and retired Army colonel from Franklin County, has campaigned for cutting regulations, taxes and funding for education while calling for restrictions on abortion access and voting rights.
  • Mastriano, backed by former President Trump, is suing the Jan. 6 Special Committee. Mastriano was at the US Capitol on Jan. 6 claiming the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

The big picture: The future of abortion access, as well as culture war issues, could depend on who occupies the governor’s mansion.

  • Pennsylvania Republicans have controlled both houses of the General Assembly for years and have sought to restrict access to abortion, limit rights for LGTBQ people and potentially fire Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner for his handling of gun crimes.
  • Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is on a temporary basis and has served as a bulwark against the GOP.

Remarkable: Third-party candidates in the race are:

  • Libertarian: Matthew Hackenburg
  • Green: Christina DiGiulio
  • keystone: Joe Soloski

go deeper:

US Senate: John Fetterman (D) vs. Mehmet Oz (R)
Photographic illustration of a blue toned John Fetterman and a red toned Mehmet Oz separated by a white halftone line.
Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Mark Makela/Getty Images and Rachel Wisniewski/Bloomberg via Getty Images

John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz are up for the seat of retired Senator Pat Toomey in a race with national implications that has tightened in recent weeks.

Catch up fast: As Lieutenant Governor, Fetterman has focused on criminal justice. But his bid for the US Senate has been dogged by questions about his health since he suffered a stroke and an incident in 2013 when, as mayor of Braddock, he aimed a shotgun at a black jogger he wrongly suspected of being in a shooting to be involved.

  • Fetterman has prioritized ending the Senate legislative filibuster, banned members of Congress from owning or trading stocks, and pushed for reforms that limit the influence of big money in politics.
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In the meantime, Oz is a surgeon, best known for his nationally televised The Dr. Oz Show” became famous. He is a first-line candidate backed by Trump, who won the Republican primary by a narrow margin.

  • Oz’s agenda aligns with the state GOP on issues ranging from limiting gun control to banning abortion. Oz has hammered his opponent because of the rise in crime, particularly in Philadelphia.

The big picture: The race could decide the balance of power in the evenly divided Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris currently serving as a tiebreaker for the Democrats.

Remarkable: Third-party candidates in the race are:

  • Libertarian: Eric Gerhardt
  • Green: Richard Weiss
  • keystone: Daniel Wasmer

go deeper:

Special Elections: Philadelphia City Council

Four seats on the Philadelphia City Council are on the ballot for the 17-member legislature.

  • Two of the special elections are for county seats, while the other pair are citywide races at large.

The big picture: While the faces of the city council will change, the political dynamics most likely will not. The Democrats currently hold 11 of the seats in the legislature, while the GOP and Working Families Party hold a single seat each.

  • All of the spots were created by Democrats planning to run for mayor in 2023, and each party nominated their own handpicked candidates.
  • Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city by almost 7 to 1, so Democrats are expected to maintain their hold.

Remarkable: The winning candidates will complete the current term of office, which ends next year.

General Special Election #1:

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Democrat Jim Harry faces Republican Drew Murray in the first citywide race.

  • Harrity is the political director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and a former associate of Senator Sharif Street, a Philadelphia Democrat.
  • Murray, a former Democrat, was a past president of the Logan Square Civic Association and is a sales director for a storage systems company.


Republican Jim Hasher will face Democrat Sharon Vaughn in the second citywide city council race.

  • Hasher previously ran for Congress in the 1990s and runs a local boys club in the Torresdale neighborhood.
  • Vaughn is a longtime City Council staffer who served as chief of staff to former councilman Derek Green before resigning in September.


Democrat Quetcy Lozada will face Republican James Whitehead for the Kensington Borough seat.

  • Lozada is the former chief of staff of councilor María Quiñones Sánchez, who resigned last month to run for mayor.
  • Whitehead grew up in the Frankford neighborhood and graduated from a public high school in Philly. According to the city’s GOP website, he has started a business and has two children.


Democrat Anthony Phillips and Republican Roslyn Ross are competing for the legislature seat, which includes portions of North and Northwest Philadelphia.

  • Phillips is the executive director of the non-profit Youth Action.
  • Ross, a former Democrat living in Mt. Airy, ranks crime and education among her top issues.
voting questions
Illustration of a pattern of ticks turning into question marks and vice versa on a red and blue background with a pattern of ballot elements.
Image: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Philly Voter will also decide a pair of voting questions:

  • Should the city’s self-government charter be amended to create an aviation ministry and transfer certain functions related to the operation of the city’s airports to this new ministry?
  • Should the city’s Home Rule Charter be amended to give preference to qualified graduates of the Philadelphia School District’s vocational technical education programs for public service exams?
More midterm election news from Axios:

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