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Credit: Guyrandy Jean-GIlles

One week from today, Philadelphia voters will do their part to select the next President of The United States, along with several other state and national offices. But candidates aren’t the only ones up for vote next Tuesday — the ballot will also feature a potential amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The proposed amendment question reads as follows:

“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?”

Currently, the Pennsylvania Constitution requires judges to retire at the end of the year in which they turn 70, and so a “yes” decision would raise the retirement age by five years.

According to Ballotpedia, the measure would affect 19 of Pennsylvania’s state judges who turned 70 this year, including Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Thomas Saylor. Under present law, supreme court justice Max Baer would be forced to retire next year as well, when he turns 70.

The proposed amendment is sponsored by 21 state legislators, representing both major parties, who argue that the current mandated age of retirement cuts short the careers of experienced judges.

While the amendment is opposed by only one legislator, the editorial boards of three Pennsylvania newspapers have published oppositions to the proposal. Included among them is The Philadelphia Inquirer, who argues that the phrasing of the question is intentionally misleading for voters, because it doesn’t explain that at present, judges are required to retire at 70.

The proposed amendment will be labeled under the “Questions” section on the Nov. 8 ballot.

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