LIVE COVERAGE: Primary Election Day 2023 in Pennsylvania

Stay with the Pennsylvania Capital-Star all day for live updates from across the state

By: - May 16, 2023 4:35 pm
A week out from Election Day, outside groups have reported spending $7.7 million on behalf of Democratic and Republican candidates. (Photo by Daniella Heminghaus for the New Jersey Monitor)

(Photo by Daniella Heminghaus/New Jersey Monitor)

All day this Election Day, the Capital-Star will bring you the very latest on the 2023 primary election. Keep checking back here today for continuous updates from our staff, social media posts from the campaigns, material submitted by readers, and other stuff that catches our eye.

There are a lot of important races on the ballot today, from the race for Philadelphia mayor to the fight for Allegheny County executive, as well as a pair of special elections for the state House, the statewide judiciary, and local contests across the state.


7 months ago

Megan Martin wins GOP nod for Pa. Commonwealth Court

By: - 10:36 pm

Here’s a look at where the races for Pennsylvania’s appellate courts stand.

Two seats are up for election on the Superior Court, which hears initial appeals in criminal cases and civil lawsuits. Three Democrats are running for that party’s nomination. Two Republicans are also running.

Two Democrats and two Republicans are seeking nominations to run for one open seat on Commonwealth Court, which hears lawsuits against the state, and appeals of decisions by state and local government agencies. 

Commonwealth Court: 

Megan Martin, who has extensive experience in state government including a decade as secretary-parliamentarian of the Pennsylvania Senate, won the Republican nomination for Commonwealth Court. Unofficial tallies showed her beating Second Amendment attorney Joshua Prince 63.2% to 36.8% as of 10 p.m. 

In the Democratic primary, Matt Wolf, a supervising civil judge of the Philadelphia Municipal Court was leading challenger Bryan Neft, unofficial tallies showed

Superior Court: 

In the Democratic primary, attorney Jill L. Beck led the primary pack, ahead of Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Timika Lane and Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Patrick Dugan, unofficial tallies showed.

In the Republican primary, attorney Maria Battista was leading Westmoreland Court of Common Pleas Judge Harry F. Smail, unofficial tallies showed.

Last updated: 10:48 pm

7 months ago

Sara Innamorato wins Democratic primary for Allegheny County executive

By: - 10:33 pm

PITTSBURGH –State Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, won the Democratic nomination for Allegheny County Executive on Tuesday, according to unofficial tallies, beating a crowded field of candidates that included Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein, Pittsburgh city Controller Michael Lamb, and former Allegheny County Council member Dave Fawcett. 

Democratic Allegheny County executive candidate Sara Innamorato (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).

With more than 70% of 1,324 precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Innamorato, the two-term state representative who pledged in her campaign announcement to continue pursuing the progressive policies that helped elect her to office in 2018. 

Innamorato had early support from Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, and U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, D-12th District, who was elected in the same blue wave of 2018. 

The field of six Democrats were running to replace incumbent Rich Fitzgerald, who was term-limited from running for reelection. Fitzgerald threw his support behind Lamb earlier this month, but by then Innamorato had emerged as the front-runner. Weinstein topped the other candidates in fundraising, amassing $1.35 million between January and May

Innamorato will face Republican nominee Joe Rockey, who ran unopposed, in November.

Last updated: 10:59 pm

7 months ago

Dan McCaffery wins Democratic primary for Pa. Supreme Court

By: - 10:32 pm

Democrat Dan McCaffery has won the primary for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, putting him on track for the fall campaign to fill the vacancy created by Chief Justice Max Baer’s death last year. 

The Associated Press called the race for McCaffery shortly after 9 p.m.

Pennsylvania’s highest judicial body. The state’s highest court hears appeals in cases involving unsettled areas of the law, reviews all death penalty convictions, and has played the decisive role in redrawing Pennsylvania’s congressional districts in recent years. Justices elected as Democrats currently hold a 4-2 majority on the court.

Unofficial tallies showed McCaffery, a judge of the state Superior Court since 2020, defeating fellow Superior Court Judge Deborah Kunselman 57.8% to 42.1%. 

In the race for the Republican nomination, unofficial tallies showed Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn T. Carluccio leading Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia A. McCullough 51.7% to 48.2%.

Voters also were being asked to choose candidates for Pennsylvania’s lower level appellate courts: The state Superior and Commonwealth courts.

Last updated: 10:32 pm

7 months ago

In Philadelphia, the final voters cast their ballots

By: - 10:00 pm

PHILADELPHIAAt the 15th Ward polling station on Brown Street in Fairmount, Philadelphia there was a good turnout, according to poll workers. 

About 1,100 people showed up to vote in person at the 15th Ward polling station, which hosts five different divisions within it, poll worker Dustin Dove told the Capital-Star. 

There were a few young voters trickling out of the doors right around 8 p.m. as the polls were set to close. 

Camryn Carwll and Kayla Rucker, both voters in the 15th Ward, did not want to share who they voted for, but they did say that the electronic voting system was quick and painless.

“It was a little overwhelming looking at [the electronic poll book] at first, just seeing all of the names at once but then it was like ‘pick this many from this category and this many from that category.’ It was a lot to  look at, but once you breathe and calm down it was good and I liked it.” Carwll told the Capital-Star.

“I think that the electronic system really helped with the voting questions, and if you hit ‘view more’ you can see the plain language. And then it says ‘if you vote yes, you are approving XYZ’ so that was really helpful,” said Rucker.

As the polling station closed, the polling workers printed out the receipts of their machines and taped them to the outside of the school doors. Some voters were still there to photograph the results. 

Last updated: 10:01 pm

7 months ago

With control of the state House in the balance, all eyes are on DelCo’s 163rd district special election

By: - 9:16 pm

With control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives hanging in the balance, voters at two polling places in the 163rd Legislative District said they’re aware of the stakes in a special election to choose their next state representative.

Republican Katie Ford and Democrat Heather Boyd are running to replace former Democratic state Rep. Mike Zabel, who resigned from his Delaware County-based district in March amid accusations of sexual harassment by at least three women. 

Campaign signs for 163rd Legislative district candidates Republican Katie Ford and Democrat Heather Boyd outside a polling place in Aldan, Delaware County. (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall)

With the Democrats’ one-seat majority in the House at risk, the campaigns have been unusually intense for a state legislative race. President Joe Biden and Gov. Josh Shapiro endorsed Boyd, and state Democrats have poured more than $1 million into the former congressional staffer’s campaign.

And although party poll workers said turnout was above normal for a municipal primary, voters interviewed after casting their ballots about an hour before polls closed Tuesday night said they’re the type who reliably vote in every election.

“It’s an important race,” Matt Schoettle of Aldan said outside his polling place at the borough’s elementary school. “You’ve got the governor on TV for Heather Boyd. That’s pretty big.”

Shapiro’s endorsement of Boyd focused on what could happen if she loses. He warned that a Republican victory would open the doors for a constitutional referendum on whether Pennsylvanian’s have a right to abortion.

Boyd’s campaign commercials linked Ford to far-right Republicans who support restricting or banning abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

But Ford said in a debate that she would not support a proposed constitutional amendment declaring there is no constitutional right to abortion, or state funding for the procedure, that the Republican controlled General Assembly approved last year. Under the state constitution, an amendment must pass both chambers in successive sessions before going to voters. 

Schoettle, who went to vote with his daughter, said he’s a Republican who isn’t afraid to split his ticket and that reproductive rights are a concern for him, but he voted for Ford.

“I don’t think she’s a hard core pro-lifer,” Schoettle said. He said Ford’s pro-police position was more of a motivator because he is concerned about crime. 

Mary Jo Corrigan said she voted for Ford because she believes a Republican Legislature will do more to help the economy but added that abortion access is an issue of which she is especially cognizant.

As a labor and delivery nurse, Corrigan said she is “pro-safety.” Corrigan said has been bedside for the excruciatingly difficult cases in which a mother must terminate a pregnancy to save her own life.

“Nobody wins,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to have anyone’s rights stepped on.”

At Aldan Elementary School, 880 people had voted by 7 p.m. Ross Feinberg, the Republican Party chairperson for Aldan and Collindale boroughs which are both in the 163rd District, said the majority, 527, were Democrats.

Feinberg estimated turnout to be about 40% and guessed that it could reach the mid 40s when mail-in ballots are counted. 

Outside the Garrettford Volunteer Fire Co. in Upper Darby Township, Delaware County Elections Board Member Scott Alberts said he suspected turnout had been boosted across the county by the media blitz in the 163rd District race. 

“You’re seeing people who are showing up where I’m from, downtown Upper Darby, in the 164th [District] angry that they don’t get to vote in this election that I’m seeing all over the television,” Alberts said. 

7 months ago

Polls are closed. Here’s where to find election results

By: - 8:00 pm

Election Day polls have closed in Pennsylvania.

You can still cast your ballot if you were in line at your polling place by 8 p.m. All mail-in and absentee ballots should have been returned to your county elections office by now; it’s too late to drop them in the mail to count toward race totals.

And now, counties work to tabulate final, unofficial results.

The Pennsylvania Department of State will provide up-to-the-minute results from counties online.

Acting Secretary of State Al Schmidt, who will host a press conference detailing the election later tonight, said the resource — which can customize searches by county — will offer “the most comprehensive picture of how Pennsylvanians voted.”

Once again, state officials urge patience while election workers tabulate results, citing existing law prohibiting counties from counting mail-in and absentee ballots before 7 a.m. on Election Day.

“While we know everyone will be eager to know the results, ensuring each vote is accurately and securely counted is the top priority,” Schmidt said.

Last updated: 8:01 pm

7 months ago

In Philly’s 8th Ward: Voting gone to the dogs?

By: - 7:47 pm

PHILADELPHIA — The after-work and before-dinner voting crowd may have left candidates feeling hungry during Tuesday’s primary election in Philadelphia.

In Center City on Tuesday evening, there was a small after-work crowd that attended the polls at the Arch Street First Presbyterian Church located in the 8th Ward of Philadelphia, according to poll worker Lauren Jeandell.

“It has been a little slow today to be honest, not as big of a turnout as we expected, but I think everyone is expecting it to be a pretty close race,” Jeandell told the Capital-Star. 

Voter Ashlee Albertson said she did about three hours of research before coming to the polls and still felt unprepared. 

Alan Atlas and furry friend Tze enter the polling station at the Arch Street Påresbyterian Church located in the 8th Ward of Philadelphia (Capital-Star photo by Ella Lathan).
Alan Atlas, and furry friend Tze, enter the polling station at the Arch Street Presbyterian Church located in the 8th Ward of Philadelphia (Capital-Star photo by Ella Lathan).

“It was hard to find really strong endorsements for some of them. Some candidates, especially for Sheriff, didn’t even have platforms that I could look up, some of them were only on Facebook  – I don’t have Facebook, what am I supposed to do?” asked Albertson. 

Albertson voted for former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart for mayor because of her career experience and what Albertson said was her ability to handle both the public and private sectors of the city. 

Alan Atlas brought his voting helper, Tze, a Great Dane, to the polls on Tuesday. Atlas explained there were way too many candidates this year and that it doesn’t help the system in the long run.

“It’s TMI – there is too much information and that is making it difficult to understand what is really going on,” said Atlas. 

Some voters said they weren’t overwhelmed and even found themselves making eleventh-hour decisions. 

“I voted for [former City Councilmember] Helen Gym, it was kind of a last-minute decision, I actually got to meet her briefly at the last mayor debate. She was the candidate who seemed to be the most open to big ideas, which I appreciate,” Michael Steeves told the Capital-Star. 

Last updated: 7:47 pm

7 months ago

Luzerne County polling place runs out of paper ballots

By: - 5:35 pm

No, you’re not rereading an old story. Something went wrong again in Luzerne County as voters headed to the polls.

The latest snafu for the snakebit county is a Hunlock Township polling place running out of paper ballots. The township is southwest of Wilkes-Barre.

According to The Times Leader, voters were able to use an electronic device set up in the polling area for voters with disabilities. The county, which uses paper ballots, had electronic devices in polling places to help with accessibility issues.

This is the latest in a long string of issues for the county.

  • In November, dozens of polling precincts ran out of ballots. 
  • In an April 2022 special election, votes were delivered late.
  • In the November 2021 General Election, two hard drives with votes were never added to the election night talley after they were left in Judge of Election bags.
  • In the May 2021 Primary Election, Republican ballots were errantly displayed as Democratic ballots

In the 2020 General Election, a worker threw out nine ballots. The Department of State would later say it was because of bad training.

7 months ago

In Erie, turnout light due to a lack of marquee races

By: - 5:31 pm

From GoErie’s Melissa Lee:

“A lack of high-profile statewide and national races is the likely reason voter turnout has been light at Erie County polling places Tuesday morning for the Democratic and Republican primaries.

“‘Normally in the morning we see a line out the door and through the lobby, maybe even people waiting outside,'” said Erin Siegrist, judge of elections for Harborcreek District 7. “Today there were four people waiting.”


7 months ago

In Monroe County, former Republicans battle for Democratic nod for DA

By: - 5:10 pm

The retirement of six-term Monroe County District Attorney E. David Christine Jr. has sparked an interesting primary, with two former Republicans vying for the Democratic nomination.

Former assistant district attorney, Donald Leeth is going up against a current assistant district attorney, Michael Mancuso.

According to the Pocono Record, the two men left the GOP for different reasons. Leeth officially registered as a Democrat in February of 2021 because of the Jan. 6 insurrection, though he said he supported Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Mancuso said he has moved to more progressive positions as he got older. 

The winner of the primary will face Republican Alex Marek.

Monroe County, just east and south of the Scranton area, has a population of 168,000.

The county has been trending blue in presidential cycles for two decades. In 2004, it went to former President George W. Bush by just 4 votes. Obama captured the county by 11,000 votes in 2008. That margin dipped back to just above 500 in 2016, but bounced back up to 5,000 in 2020 for Biden. 

Christine, a Republican, was first elected in 1988.

7 months ago

Get-out-the-vote effort aims to tap Philly’s Asian Pacific Island voting bloc for Korean-American mayoral candidate Helen Gym

By: - 5:05 pm

With Helen Gym, a Korean-American woman, among the front runners in Philadelphia’s tight mayoral primary, an organization that aims to empower Asian Pacific Islanders politically is doubling down on a multi-language get-out-the-vote effort in Gym’s support.

Philadelphia Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym.

The Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance said that with Gym in a statistical tie among mayoral candidates, its effort will mobilize a “powerful and often untapped bloc” of voters. 

Gym, a former city councilmember, held a slight advantage among the four leading candidates in the seven-way race with 21%, according to an Emerson College/PHL 17 poll of 600 likely Philadelphia Democratic voters last week. 

Former Councilmember Cherelle Parker and former city Controller Rebecca Rhynhard each had 18%. Allan Domb, also a former city councilmember, had 10%, according to the poll, which has a 3.9% margin of error.

“From her time as a public school teacher to when she helped students organize to stop anti-Asian violence in their school, Helen has always shown up for our communities. Now we’re showing up for her,” APIPA Executive Director Mohan Seshadri said. 

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, people of Asian and Pacific Island ethnicities accounted for 8.2% of Philadelphia’s roughly 1.6 million residents.

To back Gym’s election, APIPA said it has 90 volunteers who speak 10 languages working at 45 polling places across the city.

The group said it has mailed 73,000 political fliers to reach Asian-American voters in English and non-English languages, and has made about 170,000 phone calls to voters including 3,300 in languages other than English.

APIPA said it has also run a paid digital ad campaign in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese that has reached more than 364,000 people. Its volunteers have also knocked on nearly 27,000 doors as part of a grassroots campaign reaching voters at home. 

The winner of the Democratic primary will likely go on to face former city councilmember David Oh, who is the only Republican candidate, and is also Korean-American.

Last updated: 5:06 pm

7 months ago

The view from Pittsburgh: Low turnout amid key races

By: - 4:40 pm

WESA-FM’s Chris Potter reports:


7 months ago

Primary day in Philadelphia has few issues, but low turnout so far

By Stephen Williams and Sharyn Flanagan

Six-year-old Daquan Anderson didn’t want to let go of his grandmother’s hand as she approached the table to sign in to vote Tuesday morning at one West Philadelphia polling place.

A poll worker asked the puzzled boy, “Do you know what your grandmother is doing here today?” After he nodded, she pointed at him and said, “Your forefathers fought and died for this right.” Daquan then smiled and happily went into the booth with his grandmother.

There were plenty of these stories around Philadelphia as voters were set to choose between front-runner candidates including former City Council members Allan Domb, Helen Gym and Cherelle Parker; former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart; and political outsider and grocer Jeff Brown. They are vying to replace Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, who is term-limited. The Democratic winner will face Republican former City Councilmember David Oh on Nov. 7 in the general election.

(Capital-Star photo by Ella Lathan)

Also at play today are candidates for all of City Council, City Commissioners, City Controller, Register of Wills, Sheriff, Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court.

There are also four questions to round out Tuesday’s ballot.

Some Philadelphia polling places had a steady stream of voters such as the one at Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia on Tuesday morning, while others like the one at the Salvation Army at 55th and Arch streets had a trickle.

“I was expecting more people this morning. I thought that I would see some of the stalwarts,” Henry Madigan, 47, said at the 52nd Street Market-Frankford Line station. “When I was out last night, a lot of the ladies sounded like they couldn’t wait to go out and vote. They think a woman is going to be mayor.”

There were a variety of people early on at the polls, some seniors using wheelchairs were helped by younger family members and neighbors; a small crew of young first-time voters walked behind their parents to go vote in North Philadelphia.

Marlene Stone, 26, an accountant who voted at Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia, said like many others that her vote is about the issues.

“I’m concerned about the violence. It used to be safer. I wanted to vote to help out the community,” she said.

Eric Johnson, 58, works for Amtrak, said he votes in every election and is also concerned about crime, safety, young people and education.

“The schools are struggling with the state of the physical buildings,” he said. Johnson was referencing the string of closures due to asbestos exposure in aging school buildings.

Kevin Russell, 58, who is disabled and retired, voted at 19th Street and Erie Avenue.

“My issues are gun violence and the schools. The schools are designed to create minimum wage workers,” he said. “I vote because it is family tradition.”

The tradition changed at all of Philadelphia’s voting sites though this year. Electronic poll books were put into place  for everybody this year. With this new equipment, poll workers will be able to easily and quickly find voters by first name, last name, or date of birth.

LaVerne Hunter, who was staying very busy helping check-in and direct voters at a West Philadelphia polling place said, “It makes things a lot easier.”

Stephen Williams and Sharyn Flanagan wrote this story for the Philadelphia Tribune, where it first appeared

7 months ago

In Center City Philly, voters focus on electability and issues

By: - 2:40 pm

PHILADELPHIA — In Center City early Tuesday afternoon, the polling station at the  Kimmel Center had a light – but steady – pace of voters, according to Elaine Petrossian, the 8th Ward Democratic Executive Committee leader. 

Petrossian said the lack of turnout was due to the fact that most people in the 8th Ward were mailing in their ballots. She said it was positive to see so many voters take part in this primary and “meet the moment” – whether that be a mail-in ballot or in-person voting.

But mail-in ballot voters will be missing out on something new during this year’s primary race. 

As of this election, Philadelphia is implementing new electronic poll books to help polling workers check people in more efficiently and quickly. Petrossian said it had been going well so far. 

“Change is always a challenge, but [the electronic poll books] have been received positively,” Petrossian told the Capital-Star.

Poll workers, candidates, and voters gather outside the Kimmel Center in Center City, Philadelphia on Tuesday May 16, 2023 (Capital-Star photo by Ella Lathan).

Irene Colbert, a volunteer with a political action committee, got to the polls at 7 a.m. and she says that it has slowed down since they originally opened. 

“When we first came out there was a pretty big turnout and steady flow of people, but around nine or ten o’clock it kind of teetered off,” Colbert said. 

Polling volunteer Aaron Schwartzbaum said the voters he’d seen so far on Tuesday had been in “pretty good spirits.”

“Some people are very prepared. They have their whole list in their pocket, some have a sense of mayor and no idea about anything else because there are so many candidates,” he said. 

8th Ward voters Robert Taglieri and Timothy Moir were both sporting their “I Voted” stickers after voting together today.

“I think [former City Controller] Rebecca Ryhnhart is the best choice out of all those candidates as far as what Philadelphia needs for the future,” Taglieri told the Capital Star. 

“We watched some of the debates and she seemed like the smartest person on the stage. We saw her in person once and she talked a lot about how the money was allocated, where it was spent well, and where it wasn’t. And it looks like she would be a good guiding force,” Moir said.

Taglieri and Moir told the Capital-Star they were less concerned about the next mayor’s gender – but rather with who had the best chance of winning. That candidate was Rhynhart, Moir said.

“Our question came not to gender, it came to – I thought she has the best chance of winning,” Moir told the Capital Star. 

Two young women who asked not to be identified voted for former City Councilmember Helen Gym because of her involvement and support in the recent Temple University graduate student strike – they underscored her support for education as a top reason for voting for her. 

Schwartzbaum said he’s also voting for Gym because of her involvement and expressed concern surrounding housing issues and their link to crime. 

“Housing issues are really important to me, everyone talks about crime and housing and homelessness separately. I think they are one big issue, [and] the holistic way that she talks about [those issues] – that is why I like her,”  Schwartzbaum told the Capital- Star.

Last updated: 5:40 pm

7 months ago

As votes roll in, local elections officials are ‘quiet heroes,’ former Pa. elections chief says

By: - 2:05 pm

On Tuesday morning, instead of heading to work to oversee the commonwealth’s primary election, former acting Secretary of State Veronica DeGraffenreid voted at her local polling place in Harrisburg – just like any other Pennsylvania voter.

But that doesn’t mean she isn’t paying careful attention to election-related matters across the state. The former Wolf administration official now serves on the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections, a project of the Brennan Center for Justice and other organizations, that’s dedicated to protecting the safety of election workers and to build trust between those workers and law enforcement.

DeGraffenreid took a few minutes to speak to the Capital-Star about the committee’s work, and to explain why you should volunteer at the polls in this November’s general election. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Capital-Star: There’s been a crisis of faith in our elections over these past few years. And we’re now seeing election-deniers running for offices where they could have oversight of elections. What do Pennsylvanians need to know about this? 

DeGraffenreid: What’s important for voters to know – and to understand – is that election administrators are bound by the law, and rules and codes, both federal and state. When they take up their duties, they take an oath to uphold the constitution, not only of the United States, but their respective states. I’m so proud of the work that local elections officials do throughout the year … [and] I am hopeful that regardless of who is in charge, that they will follow the law, and seek to ensure safe and fair elections.

Former Pa. acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid testifies during an Aug. 24, 2021 Senate State Government Committee hearing (Screenshot).

Q: Across Pennsylvania and the nation, there’s been a loss of election workers, who are saying they’re tired of the partisanship and the threats to their safety. They’ve taken their institutional knowledge with them. How do you reverse that trend? 

A: We see it all through the country, we’ve seen it in Pennsylvania, since 2020, and going into 2021 and 2022, there has been a significant number of individuals who had been working in elections for a number of years, and decided that it was not the kind of … profession that that they felt comfortable or safe being in. That is absolutely a concern.

We need people who are going to stick with it and learn. Sometimes it takes several years to get experience. And in Pennsylvania and other states, we are losing the institutional knowledge that is so vital to have smoothly running elections. That’s not to say that elections won’t be fair, but it puts a lot of pressure on the system for a fair process. 

It’s important that we support election workers. That’s why I joined the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections. We seek to facilitate good dialogue between elections officials and law enforcement. We want election administrators to know they have the support of their communities. And we want them to be able to carry out their jobs without threat or harassment. And unfortunately … We have seen an increase in that behavior in recent years. 

Q: There’s another election coming up in November. And there already are calls for volunteers to work at the polls. What’s the argument for getting involved? 

A: It is a wonderful experience to get involved — and helping to support our American democracy … We know that people are hesitant. When you serve as a poll worker, you learn firsthand what it takes for elections to be administered. It helps you get educated on what is happening, and what is supposed to happen with elections. And you have the ability to talk to your friends and family to instill faith [in the process].

Q: And if Pennsylvanians are at the polls today and they see something that causes them concern, what should they do?

A: Voters can talk to polling place officials, or reach out to the local election board … or the Department of State … It’s so important to seek out a trusted source … who can provide voters with reassurance on what’s happening, or allow it to be investigated. If you see something, just ask. 

Q: Acting Secretary of State Al Schmidt will be doing the usual 9 p.m briefing tonight. Are you going to miss that at all? 

A: I will be cheering on the county and local election administrators. They are the quiet heroes and they do so much work, sometimes with limited resources, which is why there has been more attention paid to funding [elections]. I applaud Pennsylvania for its bipartisan efforts going back to 2019, and the work that county and state administrators are doing  – and continue to do.

7 months ago

On the ground in NEPA: Lackawanna Co. commissioner & Scranton school board races

By: - 12:37 pm

The latest from our NEPA Correspondent Patrick Abdalla:


Last updated: 12:39 pm

7 months ago

Will Philadelphia’s next mayor be a woman? These volunteers hope so

By: - 10:53 am

PHILADELPHIA — Early on Tuesday morning, community members, polling workers, and committee people alike were questioning whether there will be a winner for the city’s mayoral race after the polls close. 

At the 15th Ward polling station located on Brown Street in Fairmount, Philadelphia there were already some campaign workers set up outside on the sidewalks at 7 a.m.

“Should be an interesting day, the mayor’s race is pretty contested so it will be interesting to watch it unfold,” Amelia Cocchiara told the Capital-Star. 

Cocchiara was at the polls bright and early – there to encourage people to vote for Councilmember- at- Large, Isaiah Thomas. But she said she still hadn’t decided who she is voting for in the mayor’s race. She did say that she believes it is going to be a woman.

“I think it is going to be either [former City Councilmembers Helen] Gym, [Cherelle] Parker, or [former City Controller Rebecca] Rhynhart,” Cocchiara said.

Cocchiara isn’t the only person hoping for a change at the top, Dustin Dove a committee person in the 15th Ward is also hoping the next mayor is a woman.  Current Mayor Jim Kenney is term-limited and cannot seek re-election. 

Chalk supporting Democratic Philadelphia mayoral candidate Helen Gym on the corner of 23rd and Fairmount Ave (Capital-Star photo by Ella Lathan).

“The top three are women, but I am supporting Rebecca Rhynhart. It would be really cool if [the next mayor] is a woman,” Dove told the Capital Star.

Dove recently has been involved in the voting community and getting people to the polling stations, he admitted that when he knocked on doors prior to election day people seemed to be overwhelmed by the number of candidates there are to choose from. 

“Usually there are not enough candidates, this time there are too many choices. But today there are a lot of people here – a lot of people from campaigns which is not what happened last time. So I don’t know what is going to happen,” Dove said.

Last updated: 2:42 pm

7 months ago

In Harrisburg’s suburbs, national issues cast a shadow over a local school board race

By: - 10:27 am

CAMP HILL, Pa. — For poll workers in Camp Hill, Cumberland County, the pace early on Tuesday morning might have been slow, but the stakes of a local school board race were anything but low-key.

Voters in this borough, population 8,170, just west of Harrisburg, are being asked to choose among seven candidates who are running for five, open seats, with terms set to start in December, according to PennLive. 

Incumbent board members Neil Connelly, a Democrat, Republicans Randall Gale, and Geoffrey McInroy; and newcomers Meredith Bowen, Melissa Howard, both Democrats, and Republicans Stephanie Johnson and Jesse West, all of whom had cross-filed, were on Tuesday’s ballot, according to a summary compiled by Cumberland County Democrats.

Like other school board races across Pennsylvania and nationwide, debates over what books students should be allowed to read, and what they should be taught in class, also are central to the campaign in Camp Hill.

Volunteers greet voters outside the polling station at Camp Hill Borough Hall in Camp Hill, Cumberland County, on Election Day morning, Tuesday, May 16, 2023 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek).

“What’s at stake is our great school district,” Camp Hill Democrats vice-chairperson Juliet Moringiello, told the Capital-Star as she greeted voters outside borough hall. “It’s important for our students to have an open mind and to become lifelong learners.”

Last weekend, a multipage letter urging voters to support candidates Johnson and West asserted that the borough’s school district “used to be about learning. Now they are infested with political and ideological indoctrination.”

Camp Hill Republican Committee Chairperson Paul Lewis told the Capital-Star that while he believed the letter raised valid arguments, it was not endorsed by the borough’s GOP. 

“Some of these issues that have been nationalized – do they deserve to be looked at? Yes,” said Lewis, who was lending a hand at a polling station at Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, just down the block from borough hall. “The task is how do you present it?”

But though they might disagree on the issues, both Lewis and Moringiello stressed the importance of Tuesday’s local canvasses. 

Local government, Moringiello noted, is the “level of government closest to the people.”

In Camp Hill, where an influx of new residents has swung the party pendulum from Republican red to Democratic blue, competition between the parties for every vote has been fierce – even in these intra-party contests.

Over the weekend, Democratic and Republican volunteers were marshaling loyalists ahead of these traditionally low-turnout elections. 

“We worked so hard to get out the vote,” Moringiello said.

Lewis offered a similar sentiment, observing that the odd-year election is, in some ways, a dry run for next year’s presidential election.

“You have to keep your eye on the big picture,” he said.

Last updated: 10:45 am

7 months ago

What to know ahead of voting

By: - 9:43 am

It’s Election Day in Pennsylvania, and voters — whether they already cast their ballot by mail or are headed to the polls today — will pick their party’s nominee for four statewide appellate court seats, decide between candidates vying for local and citywide races, and in the 163rd and 108th House districts, voters will decide who fills two state House seats in two special elections.

Here’s what you need to know before casting your vote:

When do polls open?

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. If you’re in line before 8 p.m., you can still vote.

How do I find my polling place?

Find your polling place online by entering your address or contacting your local election office.

Do I need to bring anything with me to vote?

If you’ve voted at your polling place before, you do not need to bring an ID to cast your ballot.

First-time voters or voters whose polling location has changed must show valid identification, including:

  • Driver’s license
  • Military, student, or employee ID
  • Voter registration card
  • Firearm permit
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check
  • Any ID issued by the commonwealth or federal government

Identification without a photo must have your name and address on it.

You can find the complete list of acceptable identification online.

I applied for a mail-in ballot. Can I vote in person instead?

If you applied for a mail-in ballot but want to vote in person, you may as long as you haven’t cast your mail-in ballot.

Voters who want to vote at the polls are asked to hold on to their mail-in ballot and return envelope; bring them to their polling place on Election Day. Poll workers will ask you to sign a declaration saying you did not yet vote, and you will surrender the mail-in ballot. If you lose or forget the mail-in ballot, you may vote by provisional ballot on Election Day.

What is a provisional ballot?

A provisional ballot is a paper ballot given to voters who believe to be registered but whose names are not in the sign-in book at their polling place.

If you are a first-time voter who does not provide an ID at the polls on Election Day, you will be offered a provisional ballot.

Need to report an issue or get more information?

The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a hotline: 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

Last updated: 9:43 am

7 months ago

Polls are open in Pennsylvania

By: - 9:26 am

The polls are open in Pennsylvania for this spring’s municipal election.

In Centre County early this morning, polling precincts — with political signs and Election Day banners outside — in Milesburg and State College were slow to see voters cast their ballots for candidates seeking election to local office, with workers expecting more people to head out during their lunch breaks or after leaving work.

A sign directs voters where to go in State College, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Remember that polls are open until 8 p.m. tonight, and if you’re in line by then, stay in line — you can still cast your vote.

If you need help finding your polling place or want to double-check your registration before voting, visit the Department of States’s website. You may also call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) to access a free department hotline.

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