LIVE COVERAGE: The 2022 General Election in Pennsylvania

All day this Election Day, the Capital-Star will bring you the very latest on the 2022 general election

By: - November 8, 2022 9:00 am
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 for the New Jersey Monitor)

All day this Election Day, the Capital-Star will bring you the very latest on the 2021 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. Here’s what you need to know if you’re heading out to vote in-person. You can read up on the candidates in our voters guide. And you can read all our campaign season coverage on our Election 2022 page.

4 weeks ago

Democrat Summer Lee winner of PA-12; becomes Pa’s first Black woman member of Congress

By: - Wednesday November 9, 2022 11:58 am

Western Pennsylvania Democratic state Rep. Summer Lee won the race for the commonwealth’s 12th Congressional District on Tuesday night.

Republican opponent Mike Doyle conceded the race to Lee around 11:40 p.m.

Lee received 55.74 percent of the vote, according to unofficial tallies. 

If elected to Congress, Lee has previously said that she would support a Green New Deal and expanded background checks for gun owners.

Lee, who was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will be the first Black woman to represent the Keystone State in Congress. 

In a statement, Nicolas O’Rourke, organizing director for the Working Families Party of Pennsylvania, called Lee “a people’s champion.”

“Right-wing and corporate forces spent millions of dollars on negative ads to smear a Black progressive woman, but our grassroots movement could not be stopped,” O’Rourke said. “Summer is going to join a growing bench of Working Families Democrats in Congress who will fight for higher wages, lower costs, safe communities, and clean air and water. We were so proud to help get Summer over the finish line, and we’re ready to fight alongside her to make a difference in the lives of working families across America.”

4 weeks ago

Shapiro claims victory in Pa. governor’s race; Mastriano says he’ll ‘respect’ what voters say

By: and - 12:34 am

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro claimed victory around 11 p.m. on Election Day as he maintained an 11-point lead over Republican Doug Mastriano, according to unofficial tallies.

Mastriano, however, told supporters at his election night event in Cumberland County, that he and lieutenant governor nominee Carrie DelRosso would “stand in faith until every vote was counted.”

“We’re going to wait patiently to see what the people of Pennsylvania say and what the people of Pennsylvania say, we’ll of course, respect that,” Mastriano said. 

The Associated Press called the race at 12:17 a.m.

Taking the stage at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Montgomery County, Shapiro thanked voters for “giving me the honor of a lifetime,” and by making running-mate Austin Davis the state’s first Black lieutenant governor.

Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro speaks to supporters in Montgomery on Tuesday, 11/8/22 (screen capture)

“My name was on the ballot, but it was always your rights, your future on the line right here in the commonwealth,” Shapiro said, adding that  the 2022 campaign was a “test of each of us, to decide what kind of commonwealth, what kind of country we want to live in … Tonight I humbly stand before you as your governor-elect knowing that you met this moment. We showed in this campaign, no matter what you look like, who you love, who you pray to, you are valued here in Pennsylvania and we hear you.”

He continued: “Opportunity won. A woman’s right to choose won. The right to organize here in Pennsylvania, that won. Your right to vote won. And in the face of all the lies and conspiracies and baseless claims, you also ensured tonight that truth won right here in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And you know what else won tonight? Real freedom won tonight.”

Shapiro thanked the Republicans who crossed party lines to vote for him, saying he would not take that support for granted.

“I not only appreciate your vote, I am humbled by it,” he said.

Davis, a state lawmaker from Allegheny County, and the son of a hairdresser and union bus driver, vowed to be an advocate for working families.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov-elect Austin Davis speaks to supporters in Montgomery County on Tuesday, 11/8/22 (screen capture)

“If you felt unseen, unheard and forgotten, this victory is for you,” he said. “As your next lieutenant governor, I will always be your champion.”

Acknowledging the historic moment, Davis said that while he was “blessed by this opportunity and this responsibility, it was paid for by people who came before me, like [state House Speaker] K. Leroy Irvis … and all the activists whose names may not show up in print. They paved the way to this moment.”

Mastriano took the stage with his wife Rebbie, and DelRosso shortly before midnight to address the crowd at the Penn Harris Hotel in suburban Harrisburg, which had thinned noticeably since polls closed at 8 p.m.

Mastriano, who ran on a far-right platform that included a ban on abortion without exceptions and eliminating race and gender theory from public school curricula, thanked his supporters for their work on his campaign, comparing it to the fights the founding fathers took on at the birth of the United States.

“That’s what our constitutional republic is all about. Men and women rising up and doing their civic duty and standing up and making sure their voice counts,” Mastriano said.

“With that, we celebrate with you were going to stay here and hang with the people because you guys brought us to this dance and we’re going to see it to the end,” Mastriano said. 

The Republican rose to prominence as he challenged state lockdown orders during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and emerged as an unlikely victor in a crowded primary field.

Although Mastriano engaged with his religious, far-right base with a promise to ban abortion with no exceptions, he remained silent on the topic in campaign speeches after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe vs. Wade decision that established a national right to abortion. 

Mastriano also pitched plans to redirect public school funding to education vouchers to give parents a choice of where to send their children, leave a multi-state greenhouse gas reduction pact and develop Pennsylvania’s oil and gas resources. 

But Mastriano was dogged by his associations with the alt-right social media platform Gab, where the accused Tree of Life Synagogue shooter posted his manifesto before killing 11 worshipers; members of the white supremacist group The Proud Boys; and self-proclaimed prophets preaching Christian dominionism. 

He was also roundly excoriated for appearing in a faculty photo at the U.S. Army War College wearing a Confederate uniform. 

Mastriano’s campaign also suffered from a lack of support from mainstream Republican groups and he struggled to fund his campaign while Shapiro had raised a record $38 million by mid-September, according to campaign finance reports.

Shapiro capitalized on the GOP backlash against Mastriano, obtaining and touting endorsements from a number of prominent Republicans including former U.S. Reps Charlie Dent and Jim Greenwood.

Last updated: 12:34 am

4 weeks ago

In PGH, Fetterman supporters go home without seeing the candidate

By: - 12:07 am

PITTSBURGH — A crowd gathered at Stage AE on Tuesday night and waited to hear from Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, but left disappointed, as the candidate never took the stage.

The contest between Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz was too close to call as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, with Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s current lieutenant governor, holding a slight lead over the former television talk show host.

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May, and polls leading up to election day showed the former Braddock mayor in a neck-and-neck race with Oz. The Democratic Party sent some of its biggest names to rally support for Fetterman in the race’s closing days. Former President Barack Obama visited Pittsburgh and Philadelphia on Saturday, with President Biden joining them in Philadelphia.

During the campaign, Fetterman repeatedly slammed Oz as being out of touch with Pennsylvania voters, and for his New Jersey residency.

The only other politician to address the crowd of a few hundred people at Fetterman election night headquarters was Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, who took the stage shortly after 9 p.m., and said he was feeling confident that Democrats would carry the night.

“We won’t stop until every vote is counted because we believe in the system,” Gainey said, making a not-so-subtle reference to Republicans’ unfounded claims of election fraud in 2020. “We know that the last election wasn’t rigged and we know this one will be just as safe and secure.”

The Fetterman campaign emailed reporters just before 6 p.m., pointing to a memo from campaign manager Brendan McPhillips that said they didn’t expect final results to be available Tuesday night. “This race is close, and we should all be prepared for a process that takes several days before all eligible votes are properly counted and the results are clear.”

Fetterman supporters started arriving shortly before 8 p.m. and cheered when a large screen TV tuned to CNN displayed very early results showing their candidate with a sizable lead over Oz.

The gathering at Fetterman HQ erupted in cheers when CNN called the governor’s race for Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who beat state Sen. Doug Mastriano. The Associated Press had not called the race for Shapiro as of press time

The Republican had come under criticism for his views on abortion and support of conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.

Last updated: 1:00 am

4 weeks ago

Pa. U.S. Senate race too close to call

By: - Tuesday November 8, 2022 11:58 pm

The U.S. Senate race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz was expectedly too close to call Tuesday night as Pennsylvania counties continued counting ballots — a process that could last for days.

As of midnight, 48,938 votes, 1.13 percent, separated the candidates, according to unofficial, real-time results from the Department of State. However, those numbers are likely to change as the count continues statewide.

The unofficial and incomplete results showed Fetterman, who held a watch party in Allegheny County, with 2,130,981 votes against Oz’s 2,082,043.

More than 1.4 million Pennsylvania voters requested a mail-in or absentee ballot ahead of the general election, according to Department of State data. As of noon on Tuesday, the counties had reported roughly 1.15 million — 83 percent — of those ballots were voted and returned ahead of the 8 p.m. deadline.

Local election officials also have to count provisional, military, and overseas ballots, which are counted post-Election Day. 

Counties must report unofficial results to the Department of State by 5 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Speaking briefly in Bucks County at the Newtown Athletic Club, Oz said that when every ballot is counted, he thinks he’ll win the race.

“I have told you many, many times that I believe in you, traveled all over the commonwealth to make that message clear,” the celebrity doctor said, addressing more than 100 supporters during his watch party. “Tonight, you have told me that you believe in me.”

Attendees — campaign staff, volunteers, and donors — in attendance Tuesday night were relatively calm, occasionally cheering for races where Republicans were projected to win were mentioned on Fox News. Carla Sands, who lost the GOP U.S. Senate primary, and Bill McSwain, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in Pennsylvania, showed up to support Oz.

The widely watched and costly race to replace retiring GOP U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey could determine political control in the upper chamber next year.

Last updated: 12:00 am

4 weeks ago

‘Eyes of the nation are on the Keystone State tonight,’ Chapman says

By: - 10:29 pm

HARRISBURG – Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman said that “a free, fair and secure election” was conducted across the commonwealth on Tuesday. 

Speaking to reporters from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Harrisburg, Chapman provided an update on how Election Day played out across the commonwealth. 

She began by thanking poll workers and local election officials at the 9,218 polling places across Pennsylvania. 

“Election officials at all 67 counties are well aware that the eyes of the nation are on the Keystone State tonight,” Chapman said. “Overall, I’d like to say thank you again to county election directors and co workers for a job well done today. I’d also like to thank the millions of Pennsylvania voters who exercise their fundamental right to vote in this election. You contributed to democracy and you should be proud.”

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman speaks to reporters from PEMA head quarters in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Nov 8., 2022 about the 2022 general election (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

Pennsylvania voters requested more than 1.4 million mail-in and absentee ballots, about 1.15 million, or approximately 83 percent, of those ballots were voted and returned to counties, Chapman said, adding that nearly 1 million of the returned mail ballots came from registered Democrats and about 303,000 of the returned ballots came from registered Republicans. 

Chapman noted there have been reports of “minimal” issues at polling places across Pennsylvania, including polling places opening late, power outages and a gas leak. Chapman said that all of the issues were resolved. 

In Luzerne County, polls remained open until 10 p.m. after approximately 44 polling places ran out of ballot paper earlier in the day. 

“Additional paper was delivered to those polling places and a Luzerne County judge issued an order to extend voting hours until 10 p.m.,” Chapman said, adding that the Department of State “closely monitored the situation and supported the decision to give impacted voters with the additional time to cast their vote.” 

Pennsylvania’s voter hotline received more than 4,000 calls as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday. By comparison, Chapman said the hotline received about 5,000 calls in the 2020 General Election, but noted that calls to the hotline are still coming in.

Just 11 counties have responded to Chapman’s Saturday request that all 67 counties provide a party-by-party count of mail-in ballots with incorrect or missing dates. 

Chapman declined to comment on a federal lawsuit regarding undated mail-in ballots and did not provide a timeline for when a ruling might be issued in the case. 

4 weeks ago

Polls have closed, and results could take days. Department of State urges patience while counties tally unofficial totals

By: - 8:01 pm

Polls have closed in Pennsylvania, and while it’s going to take some time for counties to tally the votes, the Department of State’s election night returns website will provide up-to-the-minute results.

Pennsylvania election laws prohibit counties from pre-canvassing ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day, meaning they can’t start counting mail-in and absentee ballots until then. According to Department of State data, more than 1.4 million Pennsylvania voters requested a mail ballot.

“As a result, we must again ask for patience,” acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman said in a statement. “Election workers must be given a reasonable amount of time to do their jobs thoroughly. Unofficial results will be available within a few days of the election, and it’s critically important for everyone to understand that this delay does not mean anything nefarious is happening. An accurate count of all eligible votes is paramount, and it cannot be rushed.”

The Department of State’s election returns website will not include the Act 88 county reports, which require the 63 counties that accepted election integrity grants to indicate how many mail ballots they received for the election by 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 9.

Last updated: 8:02 pm

4 weeks ago

In Lancaster County, voters worry about democracy and personal rights

By: - 7:48 pm

(*This post was updated at 8:14 p.m. on Tuesday, 11/8/22 to include information from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)

LANCASTER, Pa. – Outside the YWCA polling station in Lancaster city, Diane Topakian, a greeter for the Democrats, said  that she can’t remember the last time she saw “such high voter turnouts around the city for a midterm election,” and that she both saw and heard of many stations with dozens of people waiting in line for them to open.

“They see the handwriting on the wall. Most of the voters want to preserve the democracy we have,” Topakian, former chair of the Lancaster County Democratic Committee, told the Capital-Star. She now works as a director for the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council.

On the local level, Topakian said, “Our Republican county commissioners are doing everything they can to suppress the vote.”

At the federal level, she told the Capital-Star, she worries about  unrest if Republicans are able to follow through on promises to start impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden. 

“They’re not interested in making life better for average Americans. They’re interested in pushing their right-wing agenda, which borders on fascism, and will turn into full-blown fascism if we let them,” Topakian said. “I think people are coming out today to stop that from happening.”

Republican poll greeter John DeGroot, of Neffsville, said he voted first thing on Tuesday  morning, along with about 60 other people in line.   

He said he believes Democrats are the ones guilty of fascist behavior.

“On college campuses, speakers are being canceled,” DeGroot said.

“Because they don’t want to hear people who are gonna lie,” Topakian responded.

“But they can’t suppress them from speaking, even if they don’t like it,” DeGroot said, adding that he believes the free exchange of ideas is important to the right to free speech, and to ensuring all voices are heard.

Topakian replied once more before walking away to talk to a voter. 

“When one party clearly stands for the denial of rights … we know from legislation, and what they’re trying to do to women, and gay people, just as two examples, and people of color…that’s when I cannot say it’s a free exchange of ideas,” she said. “When your ideas limit the civil rights of people who live here, human beings, on the most basic level, then the discussion is over.” 

A few miles away at Grace Baptist Church of Lancaster in East Hempfield Township, Jennifer Poletti, the township’s newly elected Republican committeewoman for the Barrcrest District, served as the party’s poll greeter.

“I believe in freedom, I’m very pro-life,” Poletti, who used to teach Spanish at Warwick High School, told the Capital-Star. “I want somebody that will stand for the most vulnerable, who have no voice. I feel that [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Doug Mastriano will do that.”

Ed Fisher and Alice Yoder (Capital-Star photo by Lauren Manelius).

She also spoke about her concerns regarding the COVID-19 mitigation efforts of Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.

“What we did to kids during COVID with masks, and shutting down schools, it’s done almost irreparable damage,” Poletti said, adding that it made it difficult for students to learn a new language, and reduced their social interactions with each other.

“I think it’s about power and control, and getting people to comply, and how far can they push so that people will, without thinking, without questioning, just do what we say,” she continued.  

Voter Keith Reitz, owner of Reitz Oil Company in Lancaster, agreed with Poletti that America is “going in the wrong direction,” especially concerning energy policy.

Reitz told the Capital-Star that while he thinks long-term efforts to curb our environmental impacts are “fine,” they’re being pushed onto companies and consumers too quickly. 

“I’m also not a big union fan. I’m private enterprise,” Reitz said. “It’s the blinder mentality that unions have. People who work for unions are just so blinded by how they have to vote, how unions are totally supportive of the Democratic Party.”

At the same location, Pamela Strock, a retired West Hempfield Township police officer, greeted voters for the Democrats. 

“I’m very much supporting Josh Shapiro [for governor],” Strock told the Capital-Star, explaining that her law enforcement background has led her to believe he has “a really good handle on our judicial system, on crime in general. I think he is absolutely the best man for that.”

Strock contends that campaign ads about John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, took his record on criminal justice “out of context.” 

“As far as letting some folks out … for just minor offenses, I’m all for that. Our prisons are overcrowded. He’s not letting murderers go,” she told the Capital-Star, adding that she believes Fetterman would also address the issue of the our court system being too slow to free incarcerated people who have been found innocent upon appeal. 

In rural Lancaster County, Kate Hoffman and her husband brought along their preschool-aged daughter, Lilah, to their polling station at the West Hempfield Township Municipal Office. 

Hoffman told the Capital-Star that with abortion rights as the top issue on her mind, she supported the Democratic candidates for office when casting her ballot today.

If either Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, or Mastriano are elected, she said, “Then the rights to protect her own body would worry me. We have three daughters, so that would scare me.”

Alice Yoder, a Democrat, and Ed Fisher, a Republican, estimated they’ve been sitting across from each other as poll greeters at the township building for about a decade.

Yoder, who works in community healthcare, announced in August that she plans to run for Lancaster County cCommissioner in the 2023 primary election. 

Asked if she read the letter Lancaster County Commissioner Josh Parsons sent on Nov. 6 to Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman, which he shared on his official Facebook page, Yoder told the Capital-Star she had.

In the letter, Parsons wrote of his dissatisfaction with the Department of State’s request for all Pennsylvania counties to provide it with a survey of undated or incorrectly dated ballots for the election, warning her that he will recommend “we do not comply with the guidance.”

“Making statements that are more politically focused really doesn’t get us anywhere,” Yoder told the Capital-Star. “Voting is such a key, fundamental part of our democracy. We should be doing things that help people exercise their right to vote, as opposed to roadblocks. How do we break down the barriers, and make it possible for all people to be able to vote?”

Fisher, who works in civil engineering, told the Capital-Star that the current federal government is disorganized and “on the fringe.” An example, he said, is student loan forgiveness. 

“There’s absolutely no equity in that. It’s done for political reasons, political votes only,” Fisher said. “How do you forgive somebody’s loan today, but tomorrow you don’t? How do you forgive somebody’s loan that goes to college, but the person that goes to trade school, and has to buy tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, and he or she doesn’t get anything forgiven for that?”

Aware that abortion rights are a top issue for the current election, Fisher told the Capital-Star he believes that overturning Roe vs. Wade was “100 percent  correct.” 

“It’s not a federal issue, it’s not in the Constitution,” Fisher said. “If we didn’t have the extreme on the other side, we wouldn’t be at this point. Should abortion be allowed up to the ninth month? The liberals were pushing that … No state has outlawed abortion outright. After a certain period of time, yes. I think calmer heads need to prevail, where we get to the point where it’s not just free range that you can decide the day before you’re to give birth, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do this.’” 

Fisher told the Capital-Star he believes this is a scenario doctors currently face, adding he’s read online that some on the left are pushing for “the right to terminate a baby that’s been born.“ 

Historical data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester (at or before 13 weeks of gestation). In 2019, the most recent year for which it made statistics available, 93 percent of abortions were performed at this stage. Only one percent were performed during the third trimester, mostly due to the discovery of severe fetal abnormalities that are incompatible with life.

The Capital-Star could not find any recorded incidents of physicians terminating the life of a newborn infant.

Yoder and Fisher, who were conversing about the efficacy of various brands of eye drops before speaking to the Capital-Star, agreed to a photo together to mark the occasion.

“We’ll pose together,” Yoder joked, “But don’t ask us to put our arms around each other.”

Last updated: 9:25 pm

4 weeks ago

Polls close at 8 p.m., Luzerne County Voters can vote until 10 p.m.

By: - 7:19 pm

With less than one hour until polls close, the Pennsylvania Department of State is reminding voters in line to cast their ballots to remain in line. 

While polls close at 8 p.m., Luzerne County voters have until 10 p.m. to vote due to a paper shortage that stopped voters from casting their ballots earlier in the day. 

Last updated: 7:20 pm

4 weeks ago

In W.Pa’s 17th District, Dem Deluzio reflects on the last day of the campaign

By: - 6:27 pm

PITTSBURGH – Democratic candidate Chris Deluzio spent Election Day meeting voters at the polls across Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District to remind them of his face and name in a race that could go either way.

“I’m saying hello, reminding folks who I am if they have any lingering questions or want to know what’s going on or what I’m about or what my values are,” he explained–”a chance to hear from me directly.”

It’s been a long day of last-minute campaigning.

“We started in Aliquippa and worked our way east through Beaver County into the West Hills of Allegheny County up through the North Hills, went over East [Pittsburgh], Penn Hills, Williamsburg, Edward, Forest Hills. I just voted in Aspinwall, and I’m standing here with you in Green Tree right now,” Deluzio told the Capital-Star. “We’ve really worked our way across the district.”

“We’re hearing good turnout in pretty strong Democratic parts of this district,” he said, which could favor Deluzio in a race that FiveThirtyEight called a “dead heat.”

Democratic 17th Congressional District candidate Chris Deluzio talks with volunteers to get out the vote at Green Tree Municipality Center polling place (Chris Deluzio/Facebook).
Democratic 17th Congressional District candidate Chris Deluzio talks with volunteers to get out the vote at Green Tree Municipal Center polling place (Chris Deluzio/Facebook).

“What I’ve been feeling at the polls starting at Aliquippa, through right here in Green Tree [in suburban Pittsburgh] is a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm for Democrats,” the Iraq war veteran and voting rights lawyer said, “so I think we’re gonna win this thing.”

Though former President Donald Trump cast doubt on the integrity of Pennsylvania’s elections in a rally last Saturday in Latrobe, Pa., Deluzio said he has “great faith in our election systems here.”

“For every ballot cast, you have Democrats and Republican representatives in these polling places in the counties when they’re counting the votes,” he said.

If the count gets too close to call, he added, “We can go to a full manual recount if necessary because we have these paper ballots.

“I’m sure we’ll have a fair outcome,” he added.

Deluzio expected Allegheny County’s mail-in ballot results, which come after in-person ballots have been counted, will be “done pretty shortly after the polls close,” he said, though he didn’t comment about Beaver County, which the redrawn district represents in its entirety.

At the end of the campaign, Deluzio said he and his team are feeling “tired but also energized and excited for tonight and looking forward to a good win.”

Last updated: 6:28 pm

4 weeks ago

Department of State urges voters to hand-deliver mail-in ballots immediately 

By: - 6:20 pm

With less than two hours to go before polls close, the Pennsylvania Department of State is urging voters who still have their mail-in ballots to hand deliver them to their county board of elections or official dropbox location immediately.

Mail-in ballots must be returned to election officials by 8 p.m. Tuesday to be counted. Postmarks do not count.

Last updated: 6:36 pm

4 weeks ago

Midterm voting mostly problem-free in battleground states, voting advocates report

By: - 5:57 pm

Last updated: 5:58 pm

4 weeks ago

In PGH’s 12th Congressional District, Republican Doyle makes Election Day pitch to Dems

By: - 4:46 pm

PITTSBURGH – On Election Day, Mike Doyle, the Republican running for Pa.’s 12th Congressional District, made stops throughout Pittsburgh’s Democratic strongholds.

Doyle, and his wife Kye-Won Doyle, pulled up to a Honda dealership turned polling place in Bloomfield where they greeted two campaign representatives trying to talk up prospective voters on their way to the polls. 

Representatives of Doyle’s Democratic opponent, state Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, were passing out flyers only a couple feet away.

“This is a solid D blue district,” Brian Thomas, a Lee volunteer and Bloomfield resident, told the Capital-Star. “Republicans kind of just give up on it.”

Not only was it “shocking” to see Doyle representatives passing out campaign literature, he said, “I was really shocked to see the candidate here.”

“We’re just trying to get to as many polling places as we can in the district,” Doyle told the Capital-Star.

Bloomfield is just one stop on Doyle’s election day campaign trail.

Starting in Monroeville, the Doyle team then received a “great response in Squirrel Hill,” Doyle said. There in Bloomfield, they were set to drive to Elizabeth in the Mon Valley, and then finish in Westmoreland County in the evening.

“Obviously, we believe that [Lee] will win the city,” Doyle said, “but we’re gonna get a fair share too, and we just want to be here to talk to the voters.”

“If we can get a few of them to change their mind and come vote for us, then even better,” he laughed.

“It’s important to have a presence in the city,” noted Russel Dwyer, the vice chairman of Pittsburgh’s Republican city committee. 

For the last two-and-a-half months, “We’ve been in just about every neighborhood, knocking on doors,” he said.

Pittsburgh Republican Committee Chairman Todd McCollum said party activists have been trying to reach moderate Democrats who might have voted for Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton whose “values are in line more with the Republican Party than the far-left Democrats.”

Republican 12th Congressional District candidate Mike Doyle (R) and his wife, Kye-Won Doyle, in Bloomfield, Pa., on Tuesday, 11/8/22 (Capital-Star photo by Ethan Dodd).
Republican 12th Congressional District candidate Mike Doyle (R) and his wife, Kye-Won Doyle, in Bloomfield, Pa., on Tuesday, 11/8/22 (Capital-Star photo by Ethan Dodd).

Lee volunteer Karla Doolittle explained her neighborhood of Bloomfield has two broad constituencies: older moderates and younger progressives under the Democratic umbrella.

“We talk to a lot of Democrats. We find that quite a few of those are going to be voting for Mike,” Dwyer added.

Doyle’s positions on crime and energy resonate with these moderate Democrats, Dwyer said.

Lee “said many times that she wants to abolish prisons. She believes that criminals are victims. Mike is endorsed by law enforcement,” Dwyer told the Capital-Star. 

“Their campaign is to end fracking and the use of fossil fuels,” he said, noting Lee’s support of the Green New Deal. “All it’s done is raise prices on energy, which in turn, is a tax on working people,” though he did not point to any evidence in particular to support this claim. By contrast, “Mike’s stance … [is] unleashing the power of natural gas here in this region,” he said. 

However, Lee’s volunteers thought differently.

“Obviously, it’s his right to be here,” Doolittle said, but noting Doyle “pulled up with a sign that says Democrats for Mike Doyle. And that’s a little suspect because,” current Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, who now holds the redrawn seat, is retiring.

For months, media outlets reported concerns from Democratic party activists that the incumbent’s name recognition could cause confusion and advantage the Republican candidate in this race, according to WESA-FM. Though Democratic Rep. Doyle was among those concerned, he previously told the Capital-Star, that “for the most part it’s cleared up.”

A campaign sign in support of Republican 12th Congressional District candidate Mike Doyle in Bloomfield, Pa. on Tuesday, 11/8/22 (Capital-Star photo by Ethan Dodd).

However, Mike Doyle, the Republican, said he thinks his name “is a double-edged sword. I have to make sure the Republicans know I’m not that Mike Doyle.”

He also pointed to the other signs in front of the polling place.

“Does Fetterman’s say Democrat? Does Oz’s say Republican?” he asked, referring, respectively to the Democratic and Republican candidates for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seats 

Meanwhile, Doyle noted that Lee and Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey have been photographed electioneering inside polling places across the city.

“It’s against the law. You’re not allowed to do that. That’s voter intimidation,” he argued, noting the Allegheny County Republican Party will “be filing an injunction and making sure that they stop, cease and desist immediately.”

Lee’s campaign manager Abigail Gardener said Lee “was thanking poll workers for their time. We’ve been advised by the county and a lawyer that it’s totally legal.”

Nonetheless, Doyle insisted this campaign “isn’t personal. This is just about ideas and ideals.”

Thomas noted the retiring Democratic representative of the district, “the real Doyle, not the fake Mike Doyle … was more of an old school moderate.” He added, “I’m glad to have more of a progressive” in Lee.

4 weeks ago

In North Philadelphia, a focus on the issues

By: - 3:39 pm

PHILADELPHIA – According to James Dandy, judge of elections at  the North Philadelphia Seventh-Day Adventist Church, there are many pressing issues facing the city such as jobs, the economy, healthcare and education. 

“I hope that voters come out and set aside their differences so that we can put the right candidates in office,” Dandy told the Capital-Star. “We have had substantial turnout in this area with approximately 75 people coming to vote in person, about 9 provisional votes and over 100 mail-in ballots,”

“We need people to understand that this election outcome will have an impact on young and old people throughout the city,” Dandy said. 

Kimberly Togman and Geoff Aguirre are both Election Protection volunteers who were working at City Hall helping direct voters to the right polling place and answer Election Day questions. 

“We are working to get as many people out to vote today as possible because Philadelphia is in a swing state and we have important governor and senate elections on the line,” Togman told the Capital-Star. 

“This can mean a lot for the future when it comes to issues like women’s rights, voting rights and marital rights,” Togman concluded.

“The city has been busy today with voters since early this morning and many polling sites have said they are way ahead of in person voting numbers than previous years,” Aguirre mentioned. “The health of our democracy depends upon everyone voting, especially young voters, because things turn out for the best if everyone is involved.”

4 weeks ago

Paper shortage prompts judge to keep polls in Luzerne County open until 10 p.m.

By: - 3:10 pm

NEPA Correspondent Patrick Abdalla reports:

The Times-Leader of Wilkes-Barre first reported the news earlier in the day on Tuesday.

The order by Luzerne County Judge Lesa S. Gelb came as a result of request by acting county Election Director Beth McBride and County Manager Randy Robertson, the newspaper reported. Officials asked for the extension after a widespread lack of paper for the ballot-marking devices caused issues at many polling places, according to the Times-Leader.

According to the Times-Leader, “the ballot-marking devices were not all fully stocked with paper as needed during the logistics and accuracy testing.”

“We want to protect the integrity of the election as best as we can,” Gelb said, according to the newspaper.

Last updated: 3:15 pm

4 weeks ago

In Philadelphia, election workers keep busy amid heavy turnout

By: - 3:00 pm

PHILADELPHIA – Walking up and down Broad Street here on Election Day, there was no shortage of Philadelphians sporting the “I voted” sticker. 

Danie Greenwell, judge of elections at Philadelphia’s Land Title Building in the city’s 8th Ward, said  that she has seen the largest number of in-person voters today since 2019, because in 2020 most individuals who voted sent in mail-in ballots. 

“We had a line of about 20 people at 7 a.m. which was the only line outside the building we have had all day so people were just excited to come out and vote,” Greenwell told the Capital-Star. 

“Outside the building they have changed a lot of our signage to have multiple languages including Chinese and Spanish to make it easier and more inclusive for everyone,” Greenwell said.

DROPBOXART
(Capital-Star photo by Michala Butler)

“When we check people in, they will sign a book. What the ballot reconciliation does is make sure that someone did not both sign into the book today and send in a mail-in ballot,” Greenwell added. “So if I know someone had already sent in a mail-in ballot by what the book says, then I will either have them vote provisionally or they will have to surrender their mail-in ballot.” 

“We have a lot of Election Protection coalition people volunteering in the city today, which is nice for us because they will help if there are any problems because it seems like a lot of people are paying attention to this election,” Greenwell concluded. 

Anna Stillman, a University of Pennsylvania law student, and an Election Protection volunteer, was working at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts on Broad Street.

It does not seem like there are long lines, I have been working outside, and there has been a steady and calm flow of people,” Stillman told the Capital-Star. “My job as a non-partisan volunteer is to make sure that nothing seems fishy. But I have not seen anything unusual happen today. Most of my time has been spent answering questions and making sure people are at the right polling place.” 

Last updated: 3:00 pm

4 weeks ago

U.S. Justice Department to monitor polls in Pa. for compliance with federal voting laws

By: - 12:51 pm

The U.S. Department of Justice says it’s posting monitors in 64 jurisdictions in 24 states to monitor local compliance with federal voting laws.

“Since the passage of the Voting RIghts Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters,” the agency said in a Monday statement. 

“The Civil Rights Division will also take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of … federal voting rights laws through its call center,” the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department said it’s posting monitors in Berks, Centre, Lehigh, Luzerne, and Philadelphia counties.

You can call 800-253-3931 to file a complaint about possible violations of federal law, or fill out a complaint form on the Justice Department’s website.

People with questions or concerns about Americans with Disabilities Act issues can call 800-514-0301 or 833-610-1264 (TTY calling), or submit a complaint online

Complaints about disruptions at polling places always should be directed to local elections officials. Threats of violences, actual violence, or intimidation should be directed to local police department, the Justice Department said. People also should notify the agency after they have called local law enforcement, the DOJ said in its statement. 

4 weeks ago

Fetterman campaign joins court fight to have undated ballots counted

By: - 12:26 pm

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman’s campaign has joined the call to have a federal court rule in Pennsylvania’s long-running political fight over mail-in ballots.

Two voters, backed by Fetterman’s campaign and the state Democratic Party, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Erie on Monday.

They argue that not counting mail-in ballots solely because they lack a handwritten signature violates federal law by disenfranchising voters over an immaterial error. The only date that matters is the date the ballot is returned to the county elections office, the plaintiffs argue.

“The date on a mail ballot envelope thus has no bearing on a voter’s qualifications and serves no purpose other than to erect barriers to qualified voters exercising their fundamental constitutional right to vote,” the plaintiffs claim in court papers.

Fetterman’s suit is the second in the latest round of suits seeking clarity on Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail rules, which have been questioned in every election since 2020, when no-excuse mail-in ballots became an option. 

Undated ballots have decided the outcome of at least one election when counted, giving a Lehigh County judicial candidate a five vote victory months after the 2021 election. Philadelphia posted lists Monday of more than 3,000 people whose ballots were undated or incorrectly dated. Allegheny County’s list had nearly 1,000 voters who did not correctly date their ballots.

A federal appeals court ruled that the date requirement violates the Civil Rights Act because it prevents voters from casting a ballot over a paperwork error that is not material to a voter’s qualifications to vote. 

The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the decision last month because the underlying election dispute had been settled, meaning it cannot be cited as a precedent in other cases.

The Republican Party asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court late last month to address the question. The high court, which has had only six members since Chief Justice Max Baer died in September, said it could not issue a decision because it was deadlocked 3-to-3.

Instead, the court ordered county election officials to set aside and not count any undated or incorrectly dated ballots.

Last week, state Senate GOP leaders admonished acting Secretary of State Leigh
Chapman for directing counties to include undated ballots in their counts after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the federal appeals court decision saying they must be counted. 

The state Supreme Court issued its order to set aside undated ballots on Nov. 1, after which the department of state changed its guidance to counties. 

4 weeks ago

Chapman responds to Senate GOP leaders’ letter

By: - 12:22 pm

Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman has responded to a letter from Senate GOP leadership regarding election concerns. 

Chapman’s Monday letter comes in response to a Nov. 4 letter from Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland that repeated misinformation surrounding verified voters, and called on her to ensure counties had “clarity” regarding what action is to be taken with undated mail-in ballots. 

Chapman noted that the concerns raised by Ward and Corman were addressed through earlier-issued guidance to county election officials, and debunked inaccurate claims. 

To the lawmakers’ complaints about delayed results, Chapman wrote that legislative action to allow pre-canvassing would allow election results to be available sooner. 

“I am hopeful this letter addresses your concerns. As you should be aware, the Department has issued guidance to counties on these subjects consistent with the law and court orders. I too agree that voting is the cornerstone of democracy and share the opinion that election results should be available sooner,” Chapman wrote. 

“To that end, I again encourage the General Assembly when they return next session to prioritize making changes to allow counties meaningful pre-canvassing time in future elections. I trust that you also agree that ensuring a fair, secure, and accurate election where the votes of all qualified voters are counted is of primary importance,” Chapman wrote.

4 weeks ago

‘The path to freedom runs through Pennsylvania’: Planned Parenthood’s Alexis McGill Johnson says

By: - 11:42 am

(*This post was updated at 12:33 p.m. on Monday, 12/5/22 to update Alexis McGill Johnson’s title. She is president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.)

The Capital-Star spoke with *Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Alexis McGill Johnson, who returned to the Keystone State on Election Day to rally voters, and, she said, to drive home the message that abortion rights are on the ballot in the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

This conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity. 

Q: What brings you back to Pennsylvania today?

McGill Johnson: This is it. This is our last opportunity to share the message of protecting freedom and democracy and to protect access to abortion. We have endorsed [Democratic nominee] John Fetterman for [U.S.] Senate. We strongly believe in his leadership, and the ability to get to 52 senators to codify [Roe v. Wade] into federal law. This is the first time since [the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe] that people have a chance to express their frustration and outrage. One student said they experienced a sense of betrayal on June 24 [when the ruling was handed down]. We’re here to remind people of how they felt, and to make sure that people are showing up for the election and voting today.

Q: Data show that more than 42 million people already have voted in the midterms. We know that Democrats tend to embrace mail-in voting more than Republicans. Are you seeing similar numbers – and what do those early trend lines tell you?

McGill Johnson: I think Democrats played a long game here, and focused on early voting, and ensured that people had more time to engage in the democratic process, and to make voting more accessible. I’ve been encouraged — traveling across the country — we’ve engaged with students; we’ve been engaged with infrequent voters; we’ve been engaged with independent suburban voters, and we’ve heard, across the board, that this isn’t a partisan issue for many folks. We have seen support for reproductive freedom across the board. But I might argue that this is a partisan issue in how we solve it, given how many folks in the opposition have not come forward with strong plans to protect access.

Q: When they’ve been out in the field, your canvassers have not only been talking to people about the implications for reproductive rights in this election, but also in 2023 in Pennsylvania, with a proposed constitutional amendment that would declare there is no constitutional right to abortion. Have you been talking to voters about that as well?

McGill Johnson: Our primary focus has been on the current race. But I do think ‘22, ‘23, and ‘24 will be critical to Pennsylvania and the country.  The path to freedom runs through Pennsylvania. That’s why we’re making it our focus on the last day. This is a federal fight – and a state-by-state fight. And it’s important for people to get educated on opportunities to weigh in regardless of the outcome of this election

Q: You said you’ve been all over the country. Is there any, one moment that has crystallized for you what this election is about, that has driven home the stakes for reproductive rights?

McGill Johnson: I remember talking to a woman, she showed up at a rally [in Michigan] with her husband and her young children. She shared that, when she was in high school, and she needed to get abortion care, she had to petition the state to get care, with her then-boyfriend, who is now her husband. Planned Parenthood helped her with the process, and it allowed to graduate [from high school], go to college, go to professional school, and get married with the same partner. She said ‘My husband and I normally vote along the same lines, but this is so important, that I am changing how I show up and how I vote. Not only that, I am talking to all my friends about why it’s so important.’

It really reinforces our message that this should not be a partisan issue. It’s an issue that affects the majority of people in each state. 

Last updated: 12:33 pm

4 weeks ago

More than 42M Americans already have voted in the midterms

By: - 10:32 am

WASHINGTON — More than 42 million Americans by mid-afternoon on Monday had gotten a jump start on Tuesday’s midterm elections, casting their votes through mail-in ballots or by heading to in-person early voting centers.

4 weeks ago

A busy morning in Camp Hill

By: - 10:06 am

There was a steady stream of voters early on Tuesday morning outside two bookended polling places in Camp Hill borough in Cumberland County, just across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg.

Bill Fulton, a criminal defense attorney who cast his first ballot for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, said he’s never missed an election.

“I think it’s an important election for both the state and the country,” Fulton, a registered Democrat, said. “I just want to reverse the tide of authoritarianism.”

A Democratic Party volunteer outside Camp Hill Borough Hall said the early hours of Election Day morning had been busy, but voters did not have to line up to cast their ballots. The borough hall hosted polling stations for two precincts.

Campaign signs outside the polling station at Camp Hill Presbyterian Church in Camp Hill, Pa., on Election Day, Tuesday, 11/8/22 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek).
Campaign signs outside the polling station at Camp Hill Presbyterian Church in Camp Hill, Pa., on Election Day, Tuesday, 11/8/22 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek).

A poll worker asked the Capital-Star to leave the polling station when a reporter tried to enter and get information about voter turnout. The worker referred a request for comment to the Cumberland County Board of Election. 

Across the street at the polling station at Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, there was a similar tableau, as volunteers from both parties greeted voters and handed out campaign literature.

4 weeks ago

A busy morning at one Lackawanna Co. polling place

By: - 9:43 am

From Capital-Star NEPA Correspondent Patrick Abdalla:

4 weeks ago

Four former Pa. governors call on Shapiro, Mastriano to respect election results

By: - 9:00 am

Former Pennsylvania Govs. Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker, Ed Rendell, and Tom Corbett have sent a letter to the commonwealth’s 2022 gubernatorial nominees calling on them to accept the results of the 2022 election — win or lose.

In the letter to Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano, the governors wrote that the commonwealth’s election process is “open and transparent,” and will be “overseen by thousands of Pennsylvanians who care deeply about fairness,” according to the investigative news website Spotlight PA.

“We are asking you, as the leaders of the Pennsylvania Republican and Democratic parties, to pledge to honor that process, respect the law, abide [by] the peoples’ will and support a peaceful transfer of power,” the four former governors wrote in the letter, according to Spotlight PA. “In doing so, you will demonstrate to all Pennsylvania candidates who will be looking to you for leadership that love of Commonwealth and Country must come above all.”

The letter came on the same day that the commonwealth’s top election officials again urged calm as county election workers begin counting the hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots that, by law, they can only begin processing after the polls close at 8 p.m.

“I just wanted to say voters should feel confident to go to the polling place tomorrow and cast your ballot. In person, they should also feel confident that if you have a mail-in ballot right now you can go to your county dropbox or your county election office and return that,” acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman said during a Monday news briefing.

It also comes as legislative Republicans have raised what they say are concerns about the security of the state’s elections.

Last updated: 9:01 am

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