LIVE COVERAGE: Primary Election Day 2022 in Pennsylvania

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

By: - May 17, 2022 7:33 am

All day this Election Day, the Capital-Star will bring you the very latest on the 2022 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, and you can read all about them in our guides to the U.S. Senate/Lt. Governor races and the Republican gubernatorial primary. And if you’re headed out to vote in person, you can find your polling place here.

3 months ago

State Rep. Carrie DelRosso wins GOP Lt. Gov. race

By: - Wednesday May 18, 2022 12:43 am

Allegheny County state Rep. Carrie DelRosso has won the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, according to the Associated Press. 

The Associated Press called the race early Wednesday morning. Unofficial tallies showed DelRosso capturing 27.22 percent of the vote in the crowded GOP primary field.

DelRosso defeated eight challengers, including Teddy Daniels, who has the backing of Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano.

She will run on the same ticket with Mastriano in the November general election against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, and his running mate, Austin Davis. 

State Rep. Austin Davis wins Democratic nod for Lt. Gov.

Last updated: 12:44 am

3 months ago

Pa. Sen. Pat Browne projected to lose re-election bid

By: - 12:11 am

A four-term Republican state Senator in Pennsylvania is projected to lose his re-election bid.

Unofficial results in Lehigh County show that challenger Jarrett Coleman defeated Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, in the primary election. Lehigh County declared Coleman, a Parkland School board director and airline pilot, the winner late Tuesday night.

The GOP challenger received 10,302 votes. Browne garnered 9,196 votes.

A top Pa. Senate Republican has a primary. Who’s running against him?

Browne, who served for 10 years in the state House of Representatives, was first elected to the Senate in 2005. He currently serves as chairperson of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Coleman campaigned on ending the pension system of lawmakers and supporting term limits.

“It’s time we return the government to working for the people and not the people working for the government,” he said in a statement on his campaign website. “Our elected officials work for us, not the other way around. It’s time we remind them of this.”

Last updated: 12:11 am

3 months ago

Northeastern Pa. gets a clear look at fall matchups

By: - Tuesday May 17, 2022 10:39 pm

Residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania got a clearer picture of the political battles they’ll witness in the fall – even if one county continued a trend of struggles running its election. 

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8th District, will face a rematch against Republican Jim Bognet, whom he beat by nearly 4 points in 2020. Cartwright’s margin of victory has shrunk in recent elections, though. In 2018, he won by nearly 10 percent. 

Cartwright has spent this term as the chairman of an appropriations subcommittee and has been a big advocate of bringing expanded rail to the region. Bognet could benefit from the redistricting.

Allison Lucarelli won the Democratic primary for the 118th House District and will face James May in November in what could be a close race, according to unofficial tallies. 

The winner will replace long-term state Rep. Mike Carroll D-Luzerne, in a district that see-sawed from one side of Scranton to another on the swivel of Pittston.  

Democrat Kyle Donahue, a former member of the Scranton Board of Education, won the race for the 113th House District against Patrick Flynn, unofficial tallies showed. It’s a democratic stronghold.

The recent tradition of Luzerne County having issues on and just before election day continued Tuesday.

Because of a lack of staffing, the county had to stop counting mail-in votes Tuesday and will wrap up the tabulations Wednesday.

Denise Williams, the county’s chairperson for the board of elections, told WBRE-TV that COVID-19 issues led to staffing problems at polling places.

WNEP-TV’s Elizabeth Worthington detailed two issues she confirmed today on Twitter. The first issue, according to your report, started with a man who was dropping off a “naked” ballot, then tore it up when he was told it needed to be in the security envelope.

She reported another issue in which someone was dropping off other people’s ballots. That’s not allowed without a document from the state that says you can.

Last week, the county had to change a polling place in Harvey’s Lake, “(d)ue to unforeseen circumstances.”

3 months ago

State Rep. Austin Davis wins Democratic nod for Lt. Gov.

By: - 10:26 pm

Allegheny County state Rep. Austin Davis won the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, according to unofficial tallies. 

The Associated Press called the race just after 10 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Davis beat out fellow state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, and Montgomery County banker and insurance agent Ray Sosa, taking 66.22 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. 

Davis, who has served in the state Legislature since 2018, entered the race for lieutenant governor in January with the endorsement of the sole Democratic gubernatorial candidate – state Attorney General Josh Shapiro. 

It’s official: State Rep. Austin Davis enters LG race with Josh Shapiro’s backing

Davis and Shapiro will appear together on the Democratic ticket in the November general election where they will face off against Republican nominee Doug Mastriano and the yet-to-be-decided winner of the GOP lieutenant governor race.

3 months ago

Mastriano projected winner of Pa. Republican governor primary

By: - 10:10 pm

A Republican state senator from central Pennsylvania who trafficked in baseless claims of election fraud appeared on course to win the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday night, setting up a fall general election campaign that will be rife with stark contrasts.

Unofficial returns showed state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, who came into Election Day with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, leading the crowded field with 42 percent of the vote. The Associated Press called the race for Mastriano shortly before 10 p.m. on Tuesday night. 

Former U.S Rep. Lou Barletta, of Hazleton, finished second with 23.01 percent of the vote, unofficial tallies showed. Former federal prosecutor Bill McSwain, appointed to the role by Trump, finished third with 15.1 percent, while former Delaware County Councilmember David White finished fourth with 7.85 percent of the vote.

An undercard made up of Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre; former U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, of Allegheny County; Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, Republican consultant Charlie Gerow,, and Poconos physician Nche Zama, rounded out the GOP primary field.

Mastriano will face Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who was running without opposition in Tuesday’s intra-party contests. Shapiro, a former Montgomery County commissioner and state lawmaker, was benched on Election Day after announcing he’d tested positive for COVID-19. 

Tuesday’s result capped a bizarre and chaotic primary campaign that saw establishment Republicans mount an 11th-hour push to stop Mastriano, who has ardently courted the Trump base, because they believed him too extreme to win election statewide in the fall.

Corman and Hart both suspended their campaigns in the final week of the race, throwing their support to Barletta.

It ended up being too little, too late. Both were polling at the back of the primary pack, rendering their withdrawals effectively symbolic gestures. 

Mastriano, 58, a retired U.S Army colonel, leaped to statewide prominence in 2020, leading protests against  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic management policies. In the days after the November 2020 election, he openly questioned the legitimacy of the result. 

He bused supporters to the Jan. 6, 2021 Trump rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol, where pro-Trump extremists attempted to disrupt the certification of the election results. Mastriano was photographed at the Capitol and has denied entering the building, though video footage has shown him closer to the building than he has claimed. He since has been subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the insurrection. 

Ardently conservative, Mastriano supports school choice and gun rights. He opposes abortion rights, sponsoring a bill that would ban the procedure at as early as six weeks, which is before most people know they are pregnant. He also has said he would not support exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of a pregnant person. 

Mastriano made headlines in the race’s closing days after he campaigned for an event promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. He is an icon to Christian nationalists, but has said he does not identify as a Christian nationalist

“Is this a term you fabricated? What does it mean and where have I indicated that I am a Christian Nationalist?” he told the New Yorker last year.

At a news conference last week, Barletta said he planned to support whomever emerged as the GOP nominee, saying a victory over Shapiro in November had to be the ultimate goal. 

During a Tuesday appearance on Philadelphia radio host Chris Stigall’s show, Trump said he passed on endorsing Barletta because of his double-digit loss to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., in 2018.

“I know Lou, I like Lou. The problem is he ran a very bad race the last time. He was a little missing in action. It wasn’t rigged or stolen, he just didn’t run a good race, and he got beaten pretty badly,” he said.

Trump praised Mastriano, saying he “has a very big base,” and adding that he’d been “very loyal on election integrity.”

“When I hear Shapiro saying he’s dying to run against Mastriano, that’s just misinformation. The last person he [Shapiro] wants to run against is Mastriano,” Trump said.

3 months ago

Despite some issues, Pa. secretary of state declares primary election a ‘success’

By: - 9:40 pm

Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman declared the 2022 Pennsylvania primary election a success Tuesday night.

“County and state election officials deserve a lot of credit for administering an election during an unprecedented redistricting cycle,” Chapman said Tuesday night. “I’m proud of them and every voter who cast a ballot in this election. We saw democracy in action today in Pennsylvania.”

Counties received about 900,000 mail ballot applications — nearly 800,000 applications for no-excuse, mail-in ballots and 100,000 absentee ballot applications — ahead of the primary election. Chapman said about 70 percent of mail ballots were returned before the 8 p.m. deadline on Election Night.

The Department of State answered more than 1,100 calls on Election Day, with the majority of questions focused on voter registration, polling place location, or mail-in ballots.

Three counties reported issues. 

In Berks County, at least two dozen polling places experienced long lines caused by issues with electronic poll books. A court order extended voting in Berks County until 9 p.m. In Lancaster County, election officials could not scan about 22,000 mail ballots because of incorrect codes. The county will duplicate them by hand and scam them over the next few days. Allegheny County also experienced a ballot shortage.

“I want to thank county election officials and poll workers for conducting another free, fair, and secure election, and voters for turning out to do their part,” Chapman said. “Now I ask everyone to be patient as counties continue the process of accurately and securely counting every vote.” 

Last updated: 9:42 pm

3 months ago

Fetterman projected winner of Pa.’s Democratic U.S. Senate race

By: - 9:18 pm

After consistently leading in the polls and just days after suffering a stroke, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is the projected winner of the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

The Associated Press called the race just before 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Fetterman, 52, defeated U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, advancing to the November general election. The former mayor of Braddock will face the winner of the crowded Republican primary.

The U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania is viewed as one of the few chances Democrats have to build control in the upper chamber

The GOP contest includes conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, Montgomery County real estate investor and businessman Jeff Bartos, Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick, former Trump administration ambassador Carla Sands, Philadelphia attorney George Bochetto, and Montgomery County attorney Sean Gale.

“PA — thank you for choosing me as your Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania,” Fetterman tweeted. “I’m so deeply honored.”

Fetterman suffered a stroke Friday and underwent a procedure Tuesday to receive a pacemaker with a defibrillator to “help protect his heart and address the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation, by regulating his heart rate and rhythm,” his campaign said.

If elected to the U.S. Senate, Fetterman said he would support abolishing the filibuster and would use upholding Roe v. Wade as a “litmus test” for any U.S. Supreme Court nominees. He has argued that it’s possible to address the climate crisis without banning non-renewable energy sources.

3 months ago

Shapiro wins uncontested Democratic governor primary

By: - 8:58 pm

Two-term Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro locked up the Democratic nomination for governor on Tuesday night, saying he’s ready to run “no matter which dangerous extremist we’re against this November.”

Shapiro, 48, of Montgomery County, did not face an opponent in Tuesday’s intra-party contest, with unofficial tallies showing him taking 100 percent of the Democratic vote.

The tightly contested race for the Republican nomination remained unresolved shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday night.

In campaign advertisements, Shapiro had attacked the leading GOP hopeful, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, tying him to former President Donald Trump. Observers saw this as an attempt by Shapiro to choose his general election opponent. Establishment Republicans, meanwhile, mounted an 11th-hour attempt to derail Mastriano’s chances, with two lagging candidates dropping out of the race, and throwing their support to former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Hazleton.

Shapiro announced Tuesday that he had contracted COVID-19. He voted by emergency absentee ballot.

Last updated: 8:59 pm

3 months ago

Some Pa. counties broadcast ballot count 

By: - 8:07 pm

Polls are closed in Pennsylvania, and counties are now focused on tabulating final, unofficial results.

It could take some time before voters and candidates know who won in races for U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, and legislative races because Pennsylvania law prohibits counties from pre-canvassing — opening and counting — mail-in ballots before 7 a.m. on Election Day.

Some Pennsylvania counties are live streaming the tabulating process.

Philadelphia, Delaware, and Centre counties have set up a webcam, so those interested can watch election workers count ballots.

As of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Centre County finished processing around 8,000 ballots. Commissioner Michael Pipe estimated that another 1,000 ballots would be processed Wednesday.

3 months ago

Where to find unofficial, real-time results for Pa. primary election

By: - 8:00 pm

The polls — with at least one hour-long exception in Berks County — have officially closed in Pennsylvania. 

As counties work to tabulate unofficial vote counts, the Department of State will post minute-by-minute results on its returns website.

Visit electionreturns.pa.gov and customize searches to view results as they come in.

But because Pennsylvania election laws prohibit early ballot pre-canvassing — opening and counting mail-in ballots — before 7 a.m. on Election Day, the Department of State and local election officials urge patience as volunteers work to tabulate results.

“While we know voters and candidates will be eager to know the results [on] election night, ensuring each vote is accurately and securely counted is our top priority,” acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman said in a statement.

The Department of State also will host a press conference Tuesday at 9 p.m., with another tentatively scheduled for 11 p.m.

3 months ago

Lancaster County voters head to polls over abortion and voting rights; are tired of political ads

By: - 7:56 pm

LANCASTER, Pa. – Voter turnout for the 2022 Pennsylvania primary election in Lancaster County has seemed about on par for a midterm primary, according to poll volunteers.

“It’s been pretty decent,” Nicholas Good, serving for the first time as a recently elected Judge of Elections, told the Capital-Star outside polling station Ebenezer Baptist Church in Lancaster city. 

“I’ve been surprised, just knowing how contested the elections have been, that there’s been no commentary from either side,” he continued, referring to how the approximately 70 voters he’d seen so far said little to poll volunteers.

In the early afternoon at Charles Snyder Funeral Home in Lititz, Democratic poll greeter Jessica Haile saw a steady flow until 9:30 a.m., when it began to wane. 

Lancaster Poll Art
(L-R) Lancaster voters Ronni Sakamoto, Mary Lou Balmer, and Carolyn Adams (Capital-Star photo by Lauren Manelius)

The refrain she’s heard most from voters, Haile told the Capital-Star, is, “I just want the ads to stop.”

“I think a lot of people have done their homework, which is really good,” she continued.

Joining her were fellow Democratic volunteers Dot and Kurt Shellenberger, who told the Capital-Star they have been working the polls for 45 years. 

“More younger people [are] voting,” Kurt Shellenberger said. “It seems like the Democrats are enthusiastic.”

On the other side of the entrance to the funeral home were two poll greeters for Republican candidates, including Susan Allison, who told the Capital-Star she has helped with elections in the past, and likes to be involved in the process.

“There’s a lot more on the line right now, with regard to voting rights and who we choose to take the mantle … We want integrity, we want people who are representing our values for clean elections,” Allison said.

In addition to stricter voter identification requirements, “I think we need to get better processes in place to help seniors with voting, make sure that we don’t have harvest balloting where nefarious things can happen,” Allison continued. “I think in particular our bigger cities, like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, perhaps we need to take away the ballot boxes and keep a tighter rein on mail-in voting.”

Lititz couple Arbelyn and Patrick Mullady told the Capital-Star that abortion was the main issue on their minds when they set out to vote on Tuesday. 

“I can’t stand anything the Republicans stand for. And I can’t stand Donald Trump,” Arbelyn Mullady said. 

At Lancaster Evangelical Free Church, abortion was also a top issue for Ronni Sakamoto, a poll greeter for the Republicans. 

Sakamoto mainly volunteered in order to support Mike Miller, running against incumbent state Sen. Ryan Aument for the 36th Senate District, she told the Capital-Star.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Sakamoto also lived in Los Angeles and Idaho before settling in Lancaster County with her husband. The couple lived at a Lititz campground until meeting a former Mennonite pastor and his wife, who took them in until they found a home, she told the Capital-Star.

One of the biggest things to get used to in Pennsylvania, Sakamoto said, was the copious “praise for the military.”

“I was never brought up to thank the military for their service. And I didn’t realize that until I came here, and I was like, ‘Why is everybody thanking the military?’” Sakamoto said. “And then I realized that because in Hawaii, in the 1800s, they took our queen, put her in prison, and the marines, they took – it’s hard for me.”

Among Sakamoto’s top issues is abortion, which she does not support under any circumstances, even rape and incest, she told the Capital-Star. 

Mary Lou Balmer, who told the Capital-Star she was there to support Republican candidates, was not as confident about a lack of exemptions for abortion restrictions.

“I’m a little on the fence about that one. I really am, because if I would be in those shoes, I would, you know – I don’t want to judge anybody, and that would be a biggie. So I’m just speaking from my heart,” Balmer said.

She’s also looking forward to a new governor. 

“I don’t have anything really to pinpoint that [Governor Wolf] has done … He could’ve done more,” Balmer said.

Balmer also told the Capital-Star that she is anxious over the price of drugs that she and many other seniors depend on. 

“I got in that what they call the ‘donut hole,’ and that has been bad. And I’m diabetic, and I’m on a lot of drugs, and one, Trulicity, is very expensive,” Balmer said. 

While she’s able to afford her medications at the moment, she remains nervous that could change at any time, Balmer continued.

At the same location, Lancaster County Democratic Committee candidate Anne Pyle told the Capital-Star that she is dismayed that the ideology espoused by former President Donald Trump and his supporters has become mainstream for the Republican Party. 

“I think we have some hard times ahead of us,” Pyle said. “I think there is a party in this country that is looking for authoritarianism. They want a leader to tell them what to do. They don’t want to think for themselves.”

Pyle told the Capital-Star that she used to work with sexual assault victims, and recalled an 11-year-old child who was raped by her uncle, expressing concern over the possibility someone like her, as well as patients who need an abortion as a life-saving procedure, may be denied one.

“A woman with a fetus in her fallopian tube will die. So will the fetus,” Pyle said. “Come on. I just … don’t get it.”

On Monday evening, Republican Lancaster County Commissioners Ray D’Agostino and Joshua Parsons voted against Democrat John Trescot to reaffirm their previous decision to remove the mail-in ballot dropbox from the county government building’s entrance, LancasterOnline reported

A judge had ruled against the commissioners the previous Friday, saying that when the removed the dropbox the first time, they did so illegally by not holding any open meetings to allow public input on the decision. Before their vote on Monday, the commissioners allowed for between 1-2 hours of testimony from the public.

The Capital-Star reached out to the commissioners on Tuesday afternoon for comment on their decision, but did not hear back. 

Last updated: 8:20 pm

3 months ago

Allegheny Co. voters report ballot shortages at multiple polling places

By: - 7:06 pm

Several polling places across Allegheny County are reporting a shortage of ballots as voters head to the polls Tuesday evening. 

Polling places in Stowe Township and Hanover Heights reported shortages, according to WPXI-TV

Allegheny County voters took to social media to voice their frustrations at being turned away from their designated polling place due to the shortage. 

County officials blamed higher-than-anticipated voter turnout for the shortage of Republican and Democratic ballots, according to published reports. 

Allegheny County is the second county to report a voting issue on Tuesday.

At around 5 p.m., a Berks County judge ordered that polling places in the southeastern county could remain open until 9 p.m. – an hour later than the mandated closing time – due to delays caused by poll workers not being properly trained to operate county voting machines

The Pennsylvania Department of State is reminding voters to report voting issues, which can be done online or by phone. 

Last updated: 7:06 pm

3 months ago

Pacemaker procedure was successful, Fetterman campaign says

By: - 6:53 pm

The procedure to implant a pacemaker into Lt. Gov. John Fetterman was successful, a spokesperson for his U.S. Senate campaign said Tuesday.

In a campaign statement, Joe Calvello, director of communications, said Fetterman is still in the hospital and recovering.

“John continues to improve every day, and he is still on track for a full recovery,” he said.

Fetterman suffered a stroke last week, just days ahead of the primary election in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday announced that Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, would temporarily be stepping in to serve as lieutenant governor while Fetterman recovers.

Last updated: 6:53 pm

3 months ago

Pa. GOP Senate leader Corman to serve as Lt. Gov, while Fetterman recovers

By: - 6:43 pm

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, will step in to cover for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman while the Democrat recovers from a stroke he suffered last week.

Under state law, the Senate president pro tempore steps in whenever the lieutenant governor is unable to discharge their duties.

In a statement, Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said “a declaration was sent from a majority of ​designated cabinet secretaries and the President Pro Tempore to the General Assembly stating that the lieutenant governor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. The declaration was sent [Tuesday] afternoon after the governor was informed that the lieutenant governor was going to undergo a standard procedure.”

Fetterman, 52, was set to receive a pacemaker as part of his treatment.

In a statement it released Tuesday afternoon, Fetterman’s Senate campaign said the procedure should “help protect his heart and address the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation, by regulating his heart rate and rhythm,” the Capital-Star previously reported.

The procedure came as Pennsylvania voters cast their ballots in Tuesday’s primary election. Fetterman has consistently led in polls leading up to the election. Earlier this week, his campaign said Fetterman would not be in attendance at an election party Tuesday night.

“We continue to wish the lieutenant governor the very best as he continues to focus on his health and recovery. However, as the lieutenant governor undergoes a standard procedure, there is a process in place to ensure that our government remains fully operational,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in the administration’s statement. “This is a short-term transfer of power, and we hope and expect the lieutenant governor to resume his duties very soon.”

Under state law,  Fetterman “may return to his powers and duties four days after a written declaration is sent by his office to the General Assembly noting that no disability exists,” the administration said in a statement.

Previous Senate presidents pro tempore, the 50-member chamber’s presiding officer, have twice stepped in to serve as lieutenant governor in recent years.

Former Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, R-Blair, served as lieutenant governor from 2001 to 2003, when former Gov. Tom Ridge resigned to become President George W. Bush’s first homeland security director. In that case, Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker moved up to serve out the unexpired portion of Ridge’s second, and final, term.

In 2008, former Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, stepped into the No. 2 spot with the death of former Democratic Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll. He held the post until the end of the former Rendell administration in 2011.

Last updated: 6:50 pm

3 months ago

Report: Polls in Berks Co. to stay open until 9 p.m. because of ‘widespread problems’

By: - 5:05 pm

The polls in Berks County will stay open until 9 p.m. — one hour past the usual 8 p.m. closing time — because of “widespread” problems with the county’s new voting machines, according to a published report.

A Berks County judge issued the order on Tuesday, which came in response to a petition jointly filed by attorneys representing the local Democratic and Republican parties, according to WFMZ-TV in Allentown.

Anyone in line by 8 p.m. will cast a traditional ballot. Voters who arrive at a polling location after 8 p.m., but by 9 p.m., must vote by provisional ballot, as required by federal law, the station reported. The order does not affect the county’s two drop boxes for mail-in ballots. Those drop boxes still will be closed at 8 p.m., according to WFMZ-TV.

3 months ago

Berks Co. lawmaker calls for hearings after problems at the polls

By: - 4:34 pm

A Berks County lawmaker is calling for “public hearings and investigations” after running into what he described as a “substantial delay” at his local polling place because poll workers were not properly trained on the county’s new voting machines.

“When I went to cast my ballot today, what should have been a quick, simple process turned into a multi-hour ordeal,” Rep. Manny Guzman, D-Berks, said in a statement. “A simple mistake took more than an hour and the personal intervention of the county election director to fix. Workers were not trained on the new voting machines and the county provided no paper ballots to backup any potential problems – in fact ballots are only being distributed today, hours after the polls opened.”

Guzman said he contacted the county election board, local election attorneys, and the Department of State, which administers elections, for help.

“I want to be clear – the hard-working, underpaid poll workers did everything they could to solve the problem, and their dedication and professionalism is great. These people were hung out to dry, and the voters and Democracy are suffering.”

Guzman said he wants to make sure that any problems are ironed out before this November’s general election. The hearings he’s called for, he said, will aid in that cause.

“I’m not worried about me; I’m worried about the voter making time to be heard who has to get to work or has to get their kids to school,” he said. “People don’t have time to throw away on dealing with the failures of the county election officials who didn’t make sure the poll workers knew how to operate the voting machines. The idea we might have people walk away from their right to be heard is unacceptable. It’s voter suppression through incompetence at the top.”

3 months ago

Shapiro casts vote via emergency absentee ballot

By: - 4:03 pm

After testing positive for COVID-19 hours before the polls opened for the Pennsylvania primary election, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor, cast his vote by emergency absentee ballot.

Shapiro’s campaign announced he had tested positive for coronavirus ahead of a trip to Johnstown and Pittsburgh. In a statement, a spokesperson said Shapiro is experiencing “mild symptoms” and that he plans to be back on the campaign trail next week.

“This is not how I expected to spend primary election day,” Shapiro said in a video posted to social media Tuesday afternoon.

3 months ago

Fetterman to receive a pacemaker after suffering a stroke

By: - 3:23 pm

Days after a stroke sidelined him from the U.S. Senate campaign trail, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will undergo a procedure to receive a pacemaker.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the Fetterman campaign said the procedure should “help protect his heart and address the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation, by regulating his heart rate and rhythm.”

The procedure comes as Pennsylvania voters cast their vote in the primary election. Fetterman has consistently led in polls leading up to the election.

Earlier this week, his campaign said Fetterman would not be in attendance at an election party Tuesday night.

3 months ago

Gisele Fetterman updates on Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s condition

By: - 2:06 pm

Gisele Fetterman, the wife of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, spoke to reporters about her husband’s condition. John Fetterman, 52, suffered a stroke over the weekend, and remains hospitalized.

Mrs. Fetterman said her husband, who faces a four-way primary for the nomination, could return to the campaign trail “soon” — assuming he wins the nomination.

3 months ago

Recovering from stroke, Fetterman casts emergency absentee ballot

Justin Sweitzer, of our partners at City & State Pa., reports:

Last updated: 1:37 pm

3 months ago

‘Slow but steady’ turnout in Lebanon County

By: - 1:28 pm

The Capital-Star spoke with Lebanon County election officials on Tuesday, who reported a total of 90,000 registered voters countywide.

County election officials received 7,800 requests for mail-in and absentee ballots and confirmed that, as of Friday, 75 percent of the ballots requested had been returned.

Election officials said that 30 percent turnout is typical for the county in primary elections, but that rate can fluctuate from as low as 18 percent to as high as 36 percent – the county’s record high for a primary election.

Poll workers at a Lebanon County polling place in Campbelltown reported that 137 of the precincts 2,230 registered voters had voted as of 9:35 a.m. That’s 6 percent of the precinct’s registered voters.

The poll workers told the Capital-Star that they expected the day to be “slow, but steady.”

3 months ago

Vendor error causes Lancaster County officials to criticize Act 77

By: - 1:24 pm

A “significant number” of mail-in ballots in Lancaster County were unscannable due to a vendor error, election officials said Tuesday.

When officials started the pre-canvassing process — opening and scanning mail-in ballots — at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, “it became immediately apparent that a significant number of mail ballots did not scan,” the county said in a statement. After inspecting the ballots, the county realized that NPC, the vendor who printed the ballots, printed the wrong ID code.

“The incorrect printing by the vendor was after the elections staff approved NPC’s test ballots, which had the correct ID code,” the county said. “Those ballots scanned properly during the county’s logic and accuracy testing prior to the mailing of any ballots to voters.”

Because Pennsylvania law prohibits early pre-canvassing, there was no way to notice the error before 7 a.m. on Election Day.

This isn’t the first time Lancaster County has experienced a printing error. The county noted a previous election where the county fired a vendor for a “similar problem.”

“These types of errors are unacceptable, and we hold the vendors responsible,” the county said.

But the root of the problem, county officials said, is with Act 77, a bipartisan piece of legislation that allowed for no-excuse, mail-in voting in Pennsylvania.

“Counties must run elections based on state law. This law is too complicated. It has too many short deadlines. It forces counties to use mail ballot vendors where counties used to be able to do absentee ballots internally,” the county said, adding that the law doesn’t allow for pre-canvassing before 7 a.m. on Election Day. “It causes significant delays. It causes citizens to question why it takes so long to get results.”

3 months ago

The scene in Scranton: ‘It’s moving along as the day goes by’

By: - 12:33 pm

Last updated: 1:32 pm

3 months ago

Trump on Chris Stigall Show: ‘The last person Josh Shapiro wants to run against is Doug Mastriano’

By: - 10:39 am

Former President Donald Trump called into Philadelphia radio host Chris Stigall’s show on Tuesday, where he slammed outgoing U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bill McSwain; plugged leading GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano; explained why he passed on endorsing long-time supporter Lou Barletta, and continued to spread baseless claims of election fraud.

Asked by Stigall about the importance of the Keystone State, and its potential role in a 2024 comeback bid, Trump said the commonwealth is “a very powerful place in terms of the election.”

He continued: “We won it [Pennsylvania] in 2016, as you know. I did much better in 2020, where we won it by much more. The election was just absolutely rigged … what they did was a disgrace to our country.”

Toomey, who is retiring at year’s end, is “bad news,” said Trump, who criticized the Lehigh Valley pol for his opposition to the former White House’s protectionist trade policies.

“You’re so lucky to get rid of him. This guy did nothing but fight me on tariffs for China,” Trump said, adding, “He was one of the worst people. He didn’t run because I wouldn’t endorse him. He was one of the worst people.”

Asked about his endorsed  U.S. Senate candidate, television physician Mehmet Oz, Trump said he hopes “Dr Oz is going to do well. I think he’s tough. He’s very smart.”

Oz, a talk show host, “has been on for 18 years. He’s been, as I like to say, in the bedrooms of the people he wants to represent and they’ve liked him .. He’s a real popular guy, and in a certain way, he’s very tough. It’s a crazy election.”

As for McSwain, a former federal prosecutor who declined to investigate Trump’s claims of election fraud, netting him a very public slam by the former president, Trump said: “I don’t want to use the word coward, but perhaps he was a coward.”

Trump said he passed on a gubernatorial endorsement former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, of Hazleton, one of his earliest Pennsylvania supporters in 2016, because of his double-digit loss to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., in 2018.

“I know Lou, I like Lou. The problem is he ran a very bad race the last time. He was a little missing in action. It wasn’t rigged or stolen, he just didn’t run a good race, and he got beaten pretty badly,” he said.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, who netted Trump’s endorsement over the weekend, “has a very big base. Mastriano has been very loyal on election integrity.”

“When I hear [Democratic candidate Josh] Shapiro saying he’s dying to run against Mastriano, that’s just misinformation. The last person he [Shapiro] wants to run against is Mastriano,” Trump said.

Listen to the full interview here:


Last updated: 11:42 am

3 months ago

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro says he has COVID-19

By: - 9:15 am

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate just tweeted: 

3 months ago

A busy morning in Moosic

By: - 9:02 am

(Editor’s Note: Capital-Star NEPA Correspondent Patrick Abdalla will be providing live updates throughout the day from across northeastern Pennsylvania. Tweet him @PaddyAbs, if anything catches your eye at the polls)

3 months ago

Happy Election Day, Pennsylvania. Here’s your primary users’ guide

By: - 7:32 am

Happy Election Day, Pennsylvania.

U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, and legislative races are on the ballot. And because the commonwealth is a closed primary state, only registered Democrats and Republicans can participate as candidates vie for their party’s nomination ahead of the November general election.

With hard deadlines on casting your ballot, make sure you have a plan before heading to the polls or returning a mail-in or absentee ballot.

The Capital-Star will update its live blog with information from campaigns, voters, and election officials. See something interesting while you’re out and about today? Have a question about something at the polls? Send it our way at [email protected] or Tweet at us @PennCapitalStar.

Am I registered to vote?

You can check your voter registration here

When can I vote?

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Pennsylvania. As long as you’re in line before 8 p.m., you can still cast your ballot.

Not sure where your voting precinct is? Find out here.

If you’re casting your vote by absentee or mail-in ballot, your county elections office must receive them by 8 p.m. A postmark will not count. So if you haven’t returned your ballot already, you should drop it off directly at your county elections office.

How do I return my mail-in ballot?

Mail-in ballots come with two envelopes, an inner secrecy envelope and another for mailing. “Naked ballots” — a ballot without the secrecy envelope will not count. So make sure yours is inside the sealed secrecy envelope and then inside the outer envelope before returning it.

In Pennsylvania, individuals must return their own mail-in and absentee ballots.

Does my county use drop boxes?

Not every county in Pennsylvania uses ballot drop boxes to collect mail-in ballots. Find out whether yours does here.

Where to find minute-to-minute results in Pennsylvania’s primary election

Once polls close at 8 p.m., the Pennsylvania Department of State will start posting unofficial results on its website.

Because Pennsylvania does not allow counties to pre-canvass mail-in and absentee ballots before 7 a.m. on Election Day, it’s going to take some time for elections officials to count votes.

As of Monday, more than 805,000 Pennsylvania voters requested a mail-in ballot, and more than 103,000 requested an absentee ballot ahead of the primary election, according to the Department of State.

Is there anything else I should know?

Review candidates for U.S. Senate, lieutenant governor, and governor, and check back here for continuous updates on Election Day.

Last updated: 8:27 am

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