The race for County Executive is heating up as we get closer to the May 21st primary election.
For the first time in over a decade, the battle for County Executive will be fought by two members of the same party.
"We really haven't seen an inter-party fight like this in quite some time," said Doug Smith, Erie County Clerk of Elections.
Former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper will take on incumbent County Executive Barry Grossman, but if you're not registered as a democrat, your voice won't be heard.xxx
"Since PA has a closed primary, that is, Democrats and Republicans really have favored status in PA, if you're a registered independent you're really not able to vote unless there's independent candidates," said Smith.
Grossman has made a particular effort to get people to temporarily make the switch on their voter registration.
"People don't like to give up their vote in critical elections so I told people it's very easy to change," he said, "you can download the form and mail it in and then right after the primary change back to your party preference."
In a statement sent to us, Dahlkemper said, "I am excited about the ideas and energy I'm seeing throughout the county for this election, from both Democrats and Republicans."
Monday is the deadline to make the change before the primaries.
Smith says ensuring your right to vote in this election takes only a matter of minutes.
"It's a matter of filling out a single form and signing it, we take care of the rest, so it probably takes you longer to park and go through security than it'll take you to affect the change."
You can change back after voting just as easily. "The day after even, you can go back and make those changes," said Smith.
As the candidates pick up the final leg of the campaign trail, they're addressing an issue that concerns all voters, no matter which party you're registered with.
"What can we in government do to help the Lords, to help the Erie Insurances, to help the GE's, the major employers in this community?" asked Grossman.
Dahlkemper said, "I'm traveling to different parts of Erie county during this last month... to share my ideas about my number one priority as County Executive: job creation and economic development."
The voter registration office at the courthouse will be open extra hours on Monday. You can stop in from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.