Preparing for the four Primary ballot questions

Dear Neighbors,

As I’m sure you’re aware, the 2021 Primary Election is just two weeks away, officially scheduled for Tuesday, May 18. 

In addition to the usual local voting done during an odd-year primary, this spring there are four ballot questions with varying degrees of consequence for the commonwealth. 

In preparation for those ballot questions, I hope this email can provide some information you find useful, as early voting has already begun


Three of the four questions are proposed constitutional amendments. The fourth is a statewide referendum. The Department of State provides a thorough explanation of each question, including the exact wording, which can be found here.

As voters, we will be answering “yes” or “no” to each of these questions. 

The first two proposed amendments focus on emergency declarations, like the one implemented by Gov. Tom Wolf throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The third proposed amendment asks about equal rights protections in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 2 was the joint resolution proposing these amendments to the Constitution of Pennsylvania and was brought to the floor of the House for a vote on Feb. 5. Now that these amendments are in the hands of the public, I thought it was a great time for a special “How I Voted” to explain my own action on this legislation that you are likely a bit more familiar with now.

I firmly believed that, in times of emergency, the Commonwealth would need a leader to make certain decisions and not a 200+ member collective. The General Assembly is an “OK” legislative body and would undoubtedly be a pretty poor leader in times of crisis.

I felt that the concept of restricting a governor’s authority in a crisis is dangerous and not in our best interests. We must think long and hard about who we elect to executive positions (president, governor, commissioner) as, unlike lawmakers, they oversee the functioning of our communities. We may not always like their decisions, but we are the ones who give them that authority, and it’s for good reason. That is why I voted “NO” on the legislation proposing the constitutional amendment on Feb. 5.

The resolution passed both chambers of the General Assembly, along mostly party lines, which is why the questions are on the primary ballot. 

The statewide referendum asks if voters favor making municipal fire departments eligible to apply for loans from an existing state loan program. This referendum question is the result of legislation that came out of the legislature in the fall of 2020, before I was your Representative. As I did not vote on this bill, I do not have a “How I Voted” summary for you.

As a reminder, the deadline to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot is May 11. 

Montgomery County announced 11 secure drop-off box locations and satellite offices for the primary. For more information from Montgomery County, visit the Voter Services page, call 610-278-3280 or email

If you have further questions, call or email my office at 215-572-5210 or

In Service,

Napoleon Nelson
Pennsylvania State Representative

Serving Cheltenham Township, Springfield Township and Jenkintown Borough