Simplifying Philadelphia's 4 ballot questions — 2021 voter guide

Philadelphians will vote on four ballot questions on Nov. 2, 2021.
Philadelphians will vote on four ballot questions on Nov. 2, 2021. Photo credit iStock/Getty Images Plus

Philadelphia voters will be asked to answer four ballot questions on Tuesday. Here's what you need to know about them.

Question 1: Should the city charter be changed to ask the state to legalize marijuana?

This question is essentially meaningless. The state of Pennsylvania would not be bound by the city’s request and, in fact, is quite likely to ignore it. The real question: Why is this on the ballot?

Question 2: Should the charter be changed to create a Department of Fleet Management?

This action would replace the Office of Fleet Management, which was established by executive order. Theoretically this is not a permanent part of city government. Creating this department would make it permanent.

Question 3: Should the charter be changed to eliminate the hiring practice known as the "rule of two"?

The rule of two holds that only the two highest scorers on the civil service exam can be candidates for a job. The rule was adopted to eliminate patronage, but department heads say it has had the unintended consequence of limiting diversity in the workforce. The change would allow more flexibility in hiring.

Question 4: Should the charter mandate an annual appropriation for the Housing Trust Fund?

The Housing Trust Fund provides support for affordable housing in a number of ways, and through a variety of funding mechanisms. City Council put the question on the ballot after Mayor Jim Kenney cut the city’s contribution, as a way to manage the budget during the pandemic. The mayor is among the opponents of the measure who argue the city needs that kind of flexibility in an emergency such as a global health crisis.

All you need to know to vote on Nov. 2