As a service to Catholic voters, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) sent a questionnaire to both candidates seeking their opinions on 16 specific questions. Neither campaign responded by the deadline. Therefore, in keeping with its mission to educate and inform Catholics about public policy, the PCC researched the candidates to ascertain their positions on the issues. PCC staff and a team of Catholic journalists and communications professionals from around the state gathered information from voting records, public statements, campaign materials and other public sources looking for illustrations of each candidate’s views on various issues.The PCC published the data in an article titled, “Know the positions of the presidential candidates,” on its website, in its Viewpoint newsletter, and a two-page bulletin insert. All information cites the most original source possible. On the website, every statement is connected to a hyperlink that takes the viewer directly to the source so he or she can read the candidates’ comments or roll call vote directly.
Research on voting records was conducted using three sources: the independent govtrack.us website, the Library of Congress’ THOMAS website, and the website of the U.S. Senate itself. Most other statements were derived from the candidates’ own political websites or quotes at public appearances as reported in the media.
The PCC researched a wide range of topics; the outcome of the November election will affect the future of many issues. The topics in the PCC materials are arranged alphabetically simply for convenience.
The comments, votes and statements in the PCC materials are merely snapshots from each candidate’s public career and campaign for president. The candidates also represent the platforms of their political parties, which may offer a broader perspective of the issues. Voters should keep their eyes and ears open throughout the election season to continually enlighten their understanding of the candidates and their positions.
For decades, the PCC has upheld its long-standing tradition of surveying candidates for political office at both the federal and state levels, and educating voters about key Catholic issues. (See also, Pennsylvania Attorney General and Auditor General) The “voter guides” that are developed are for information purposes only. The Conference neither supports nor opposes any candidate for public office. Ultimately, each voter must inform his or her own conscience and cast a vote accordingly before God. Each of us is responsible for our own free will choices inside and outside the voting booth.