Voting

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

Tuesday night saw some big wins for Democrats around the country--but Pennsylvania's elections were mostly lower-profile, and ended with more of a political mixed bag.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Pennsylvania voters have judicial elections, a ballot question on taxes and a slew of local races to consider as they head to the polls.

The biggest statewide race Tuesday pits Democratic Allegheny County Judge Dwayne Woodruff against Republican Justice Sallie Mundy.

The result will leave the high court in Democratic hands, either 5 to 2 or 6 to 1.

Woodruff is a former Pittsburgh Steeler who handles family court. Mundy is a former Superior Court judge from Tioga County who was appointed to fill an unexpired term.

Matt Rourke / AP

State representatives are trying to figure out how to stop voter registration glitches that have allowed over 500 non-citizens to vote in state and national elections since 2000.

Off-Year Election, Political Frustrations Contribute To Dip In PA Voter Registration

Oct 20, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Less than three weeks until Election Day, voter registration is down by about 2.5 percent in Pennsylvania compared with 2016.

Both major political parties — Democrats and Republicans — have lost members across the commonwealth.

Terry Madonna, director at the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, said a drop in voter registration after the 2016 presidential election follows a typical pattern.

PA Court Weighs Delaying Gerrymander Lawsuit Similar To Case Before US Supreme Court

Oct 6, 2017
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pelligrini heard arguments Wednesday over whether to stay a lawsuit over the state’s congressional district map until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar case out of Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania Official: Hackers Maybe Sought Voter Records

Sep 26, 2017
Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania's top elections official said Monday that he thinks Russian hackers who tried unsuccessfully to penetrate the state's election systems had hoped to alter voter registration records to sow confusion and frustration right before last year's presidential election.

Secretary of State Pedro Cortes, however, said he otherwise has been given very little information by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about the supposed attempts by Russian hackers, including how the hackers were connected to Russia, their method and the timing of their attempts.

Pennsylvania System Glitch Let Non-Citizens Register To Vote

Sep 21, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Some people who are in the U.S. legally but who are not citizens were mistakenly allowed to register to vote in Philadelphia because of a glitch in Pennsylvania's electronic driver's licensing system, a city election official said Wednesday.

Al Schmidt, a Republican who sits on Philadelphia's three-member election commission, said that since 2006 at least 168 noncitizens registered to vote in the city through the motor voter driver's licensing system. In some cases, they voted, and some of them voted in more than one election, Schmidt said.

Matt Rourke / AP

Election officials across the country are trying to make sure voting infrastructure is up to date, after concerns over potential hacking in the 2016 election.

Pennsylvania is no exception.

In 2002, the federal government handed down almost $4 billion for states to update their voting machines and other election equipment. Most states—including Pennsylvania—have long since drained their share.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania union leaders are attempting to chart a new course after decades of declining membership.

As members have dwindled, unions' once-strong political sway toward the Democratic party has also shifted.

The change was especially apparent last year, when an overwhelming number of white, union or former union members voted for Donald Trump.

Maryland To Pennsylvania (And 4 Other States): We'll Redistrict When You Do

Apr 4, 2017
Googlemaps

President Donald Trump, a Republican, won Pennsylvania by a narrow margin of 68,000 votes. The state has about 900,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. 

Matt Rourke / AP

An independent report from an academic group has given Pennsylvania a dismal ranking in how well it conducts its elections.

The Electoral Integrity Project—which is based out of Harvard University and the University of Sydney—has the Keystone State tied for fifth-worst in the country.

The group ranked states based on 12 criteria, including electoral laws and procedures, media coverage, campaign finance, and district boundaries.

Pennsylvania Fights Green Party Recount Bid In Federal Court

Dec 8, 2016
Paul Sancya / AP

 

 

Pennsylvania election officials want a federal judge to throw out a Green Party-backed lawsuit that seeks a recount of paper ballots cast in Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 presidential election and an inspection to make sure election software wasn't hacked.

Thursday's court filing says Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein lacks the necessary standing to challenge the election result because any change won't make her the winner. The state's lawyers also call it "rank speculation" to suggest that Russian hackers somehow flipped the vote.

Katie Meyer / WITF

Green Party supporters were in Harrisburg on Monday to vocally back Jill Stein’s quest for a presidential vote recount in the commonwealth.

Stein, the Green Party candidate, has now filed suit in both federal and Philadelphia city courts.

Translation Help At The Polls: What's Required And How It Works

Nov 8, 2016
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

 

There are requirements at polling places, but help doesn't reach everyone who needs it.

Elections have been hectic for Cesar Liriano for most of the nine years he's lived in the city of Lebanon. Presidential elections are craziest, but he's busy during the lower-turnout local and gubernatorials, too.

"Normally, I get up at 5 o'clock every day, doesn't matter elections or not," Liriano says. "I go down as soon to the polls as soon as they open, I go and vote with my wife, and then I get prepared to be running from one poll to the other."

A Live Map Of Voting Issues In Pennsylvania

Nov 7, 2016

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90.5 WESA is participating in Electionland, a ProPublica project that will cover access to the ballot and problems that prevent people from exercising their right to vote during the 2016 election.

 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Tim Stevens waited inside the Meineke auto repair shop in Larimer for his car’s tune up, just in time for Election Day. He sorted through bags of flyers that he had taken out of the backseat of his car.

“Get Out and Vote!” and “Roll to the Polls” were printed on the neon orange papers.

How To Know If You're Being Intimidated At The Polls

Nov 5, 2016
Tony Gutierrez / AP

 

Lots of people will be heading to the polls Tuesday, especially this year. But if someone tries to block a voter from entering a polling place or aggressively tries to persuade them to vote for a particular candidate, Pennsylvania law says that’s not OK.

“It’s all based on the important safeguard that voters should be able to exercise their vote, vote their conscience, without unwanted, unmerited distraction including intimidation or any form of persuasion one way or the other,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes.

Rick Bowmer / AP

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8 and there’s no need to head to the polls clueless. WESA has a handy guide the help you through it.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

 

It takes 10 full-time employees, a supervisor and some temp workers several months to ready the voting machines for Election Day.

 

“The logistics of getting this all together, it’s amazing,” said Mark Wolosik, Allegheny County Election Division Manager.

 

Delivery of nearly 4,700 voting machines to 850 different polling places today begins today, but the work started just days after the April primary.

 

PA’s Voting Machines Are So Old, They Can’t Be Hacked

Oct 26, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

For weeks, we've been hearing about whether a cyberattack could somehow interfere with the upcoming presidential election results.

Different types of voting machines are used on Election Day throughout the area, and some are more vulnerable.

"I don't think a large-scale attack is likely," Henry Carter, an assistant professor at Villanova University, said. His expertise centers on cybersecurity and cryptology.

This year's presidential election will be the first in a half-century without the significant presence of federal observers at polling places. That's because in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and when the court wiped out that section, the statute that provided for election observers went, too.

Ally Aubry / flickr

Tuesday, Oct. 11 is the final date to register to vote in Pennsylvania. Over the course of 2016, more than 40,000 Allegheny County residents have submitted their registration applications online since the state launched the system a little over a year ago.

Brad Larrison / Newsworks

Last month, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed the only way he would lose Pennsylvania in the presidential election would be through voter fraud.

"The only way we can lose, in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on," he told a rally in Altoona in August.

J. Dale Shoemaker / PublicSource

“Would you like to register to vote?”

Nearly every time Elaine Harris-Fulton asks the question, she gets a version of, “I’m already registered.”

John Minchillo / AP

 

Allegheny County has been held as a model for its handling of electronic voting testing and inspection. It’s the only county in Pennsylvania to conduct parallel testing, meaning an independent organization randomly selects machines on Election Day and simulates usage.

Divided America: Diverse Millennials Are No Voting Monolith

Aug 23, 2016
Brennan Linsley / AP

 

The oldest millennials — nearing 20 when airplanes slammed into New York City's Twin Towers — are old enough to remember the relative economic prosperity of the 1990s, and when a different Clinton was running for president. 

AP

Pennsylvania has a long history as an important swing state in presidential elections. But over the last decade, approximately, political shifts have kept the state swinging left again and again—Republicans haven’t won Pennsylvania since 1988.

Nevertheless, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are fighting hard for Keystone State votes this year.

According to Chris Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College, Pennsylvania has been like “fool’s gold” for Republicans in recent years: tantalizing, but just out of reach.

Politicians often urge supporters to get out and vote. But Donald Trump wants them to go further: get out and vote, and then stake out polling places to watch for cheating.

At a Friday campaign event in Altoona, Penn., the Republican presidential nominee said voting might not be enough for him to win.

Hillary Clinton's recent surge in the polls is being fueled in part by a demographic that President Obama lost handily four years ago — white, college-educated voters.

"In over a half-century, no Democratic presidential candidate has carried white voters with a college degree," said Michelle Diggles, a senior political analyst with the center-left think tank Third Way, who described the split between the white working class and whites with a college degree as "the most underreported story of this year."

Charlie Neibergall / AP

Well, of course. But it's been a long time.

Pennsylvania has become a fairly solid blue state since then-candidate George H. W. Bush won the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, but that didn’t stop GOP hopeful Donald Trump from winning a substantial number of votes on Tuesday.

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