The NAACP Pittsburgh Branch and WPXI-TV are teaming up for a Thursday night program for a televised voter education event that will encourage people to vote in the upcoming special and primary elections.
A special election on Tuesday will determine who completes the terms for the State House seats vacated by current Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and his chief of staff, Jake Wheatley.
Social worker and community activist Aerion Abney is the Democratic nominee to replace Wheatley in the 19th Legislative District.
In the 24th District, Martell Covington, an aide to State Sen. Jay Costa, won the Democratic nomination to replace Gainey. Todd Elliott Koger will appear on the ballot as the Republican nominee in the heavily Democratic district.
Thursday’s event will encourage voters in those districts to vote next week, while also urging people to vote in the upcoming primary in May.
Special elections have historically tended to attract low voter turnout.
“This is a unique special election in a unique legislative district,” said WPXI news director Scott Trabandt. “It will also kick off a critical six-week sprint to the May primary, and we look forward to the analysis and scenarios our experts will bring to the community.”
The program was to include a debate between Covington and Koger, but the debate was dropped due to a death in Koger’s family. The rest of the show will continue.
“Black voters must take a stand for our communities, our democracy and our future and vote in the April 5 special election and May 17 primary election,” said Johnnie Miott, president of the NAACP Pittsburgh branch.
The live program airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on PCNC, as well as on WPXI’s streaming platform, WPXI Now. WPXI Now is available for free on Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV. Viewers can also watch on the WPXI News app for mobile devices.