The three people vying in the election for magisterial district judge have agreed to appear at a candidates’ forum scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, in the auditorium of Elizabethtown Area Middle School.
The public is invited to attend the free event, which is hosted jointly by the Rotary Club of Elizabethtown and The Elizabethtown Advocate. The forum is to be moderated by Advocate editor Dan Robrish and Elizabethtown attorney Kevin Dolan.
Three people have filed to run for the office. Dauphin County Prison employee Wendy Myers is running in both the Republican and Democratic primaries; she is running against the endorsed candidates in both primaries. Myers is not a lawyer; magisterial district judges in Pennsylvania do not have to be lawyers and many are not.
The Republican Party’s endorsed candidate is attorney Randall L. Miller, a former prosecutor who lives in Mount Joy Township and practices law from an office in downtown Lancaster. Miller is only on the Republican ballot in the primary; he did not get enough signatures from registered Democrats to cross-file for the Democratic primary. (He is not to be confused with Randall K. Miller, who practices law from an office in Elizabethtown.)
The Democratic Party has endorsed attorney Dan Stephenson, who lives in Elizabethtown and is a partner in the firm VanOrmer & Stephenson, which has offices in Elizabethtown and Lancaster. Stephenson has cross-filed and will be on the ballot in the Republican primary as well as the Democratic primary.
It is possible that other candidates will run. People who are registered to vote as independents or as members of smaller political parties such as the Libertarian and Green parties have until Aug. 1 to gather signatures appear on the general election ballot.
The office of magisterial district judge is a full-time job that pays a salary of $90,154 a year for a six-year term. The job was most recently held by Jayne F. Duncan until she resigned abruptly in April of last year. Magisterial district judges hear minor criminal matters, traffic cases, landlord-tenant disputes, small-claims civil cases as well as holding arraignments,setting bail and holding preliminary hearings for serious criminal matters.