The polls are open across the country for the 2013 general election, and in Allegheny County things are reportedly very quiet.
The Allegheny County Elections Division says a few polling places were slow to start taking voters due to problems with buildings not being open on time and poll workers calling in sick. All of those locations opened shortly after 7 a.m., and the division said replacement workers were found where needed.
Turnout is expected to be low throughout the county. In the city of Pittsburgh the mayoral election features three candidates, but with his strong name recognition and heavy voter registration edge, Democrat Bill Peduto is heavily favored.
Although five of the nine school board seats are up for election, none of the seats are contested. In four of the races the candidates are cross-filed as both Republicans and Democrats, and in District 3 Thomas Sumpter is running as a Democrat with no Republican opposition.
City residents will be asked to weigh in on a ballot question asking if they would like to change the home rule charter to require all city employees to live in the city. The state Legislature recently passed legislation exempting Pittsburgh firefighters and police officers from the residency requirement. That runs contrary to a Pittsburgh ordinance, and the Fraternal Order of Police has filed suit asking to be allowed to live outside of the city.
The ballot question was the result of a push by City Councilman Ricky Burgess, but there has been little public opposition to the amendment and even less debate.
Five Pittsburgh City Council districts are up for election. Democrats Theresa Smith in District 2 and Daniel Lavelle face no opposition in their re-election bid. Natalia Rudiak is being quietly challenged by Republican Samuel Hurt for her District 4 seat and Democrat Dan Gilman faces Republican Mordecai Treblow in the 8th District where Bill Peduto is stepping down.
Given the heavy Democratic voter registration advantage in the city, most political voters see the primary as the most important election and the general election a sort of after thought.
However, the race to fill the unexpired term of Former Councilman Patrick Dowd is a hot one. Five candidates all think they have a shot Tuesday. Democrat Deb Gross has the endorsement of Bill Peduto but Independent Tony Ceoffee has been nipping at her heels, followed by Libertarian David Powell and Independents Tom Fallon and James Wudarczyk.
At the county level there are six council seats up for grabs. In District 1 incumbent Matt Drozd lost to a primary challenger, and the race now pits Republican Tom Baker against Democrat Daniel McClain and the Constitution Party’s Jim Barr.
District 3 also has no incumbent. Democrat Mary Gibson is running against Republican Ed Kress.
There are only Democrats filed in Districts 4 and 12, where Michael Finnerty and Jim Ellenbogen respectively are running as incumbents.
District 8 incumbent Charles Martoni is being challenged by Republican Dave Majernik. The same holds true in District 9 where Democrat Bob Macey faces a challenge from Kenneth Peoples.
Polls remain open until 8 p.m. Anyone in line at that time will be given the opportunity to vote.