LIVE COVERAGE: The 2021 General Election in Pennsylvania

All day this Election Day, the Capital-Star will bring you the very latest on the 2021 general election

By: - November 2, 2021 9:08 am

(Capital-Star file)

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, and you can read all about them in our Voters Guide. And if you’re headed out to vote in person, you can find your polling place here.

2 years ago

With more than 4K ballots left to count, race for Erie county executive too close to call

By: - Wednesday November 3, 2021 9:41 am

With more than 4,000 ballots left to count in Erie, the race for county executive is still too close to call.

With 147 out of 149 precincts reporting just before midnight on Tuesday, unofficial tallies showed that the Republican nominee Brenton Davis had a 4,533 lead against Tyler Titus, the Democratic candidate, who, if elected, would be the first openly transgender person to hold the post.

Both candidates offered remarks on Tuesday night, but neither conceded. Titus thanked their supporters and said the campaign would wait for the final tally.

Canvassing of the remaining 4,354 mail ballots is expected to conclude Wednesday.

2 years ago

Dems claim victory in Pa. House special elections

By: - Tuesday November 2, 2021 11:34 pm

Democrats have claimed victory in two state House special elections held Tuesday in Delaware and Lackawanna counties.

The victories were both in seats formerly held by Democrats, and have historically been Democratic.

Gina Curry claimed victory in the 164th House District in Delaware County outside of Philadelphia, while Thom Welby claimed victory in the 113th House District, which includes most of Scranton.

According to unofficial results, Curry had 91 percent of the vote as of 11 p.m; Welby had 66.6 percent of the vote. Both will serve for the next year, until they can run for a full two- year term in districts that could look radically different after redistricting.

Their victories do not change the balance of power in the House of Representatives, which Republicans control 113-88.

Curry will replace former Democratic state Rep. Margo Davidson, who resigned over the summer while facing corruption charges. Welby will replace former Democratic state Rep. Marty Flynn, who won a seat in the state Senate in May.

The chamber will only briefly be back at its full membership of 203, however; at least one state representative has already won a local office and will have to resign the body in the coming weeks — state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, who was elected mayor of Pittsburgh.

2 years ago

State legislators are on local ballots, likely sparking more special elections

By: - 10:21 pm

At least three sitting state legislators are on the ballot this election running for local offices, which could cause a trickle down of special elections in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Meanwhile, a fourth could also be on their way out for a new job because of a colleague’s promotion.

State Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, will be Pittsburgh’s next mayor after beating incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto in the May primary. He’ll be Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor.

State Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne, is running for the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania. The county has so far reported few results. She’s running alongside two other candidates, meaning three are vying for two open spots on the county bench.

Finally, state Sen. John Sabatina, D-Philadelphia, is running for a judgeship in the commonwealth’s largest city. His victory appears all but assured, as he is one of 12 Democrats running for 12 open seats.

All three of the seats are solid seats for their respective parties, but will likely cause inter-party intrigue. Special election candidates are picked by the parties, not voters, in Pennsylvania. 

Picking candidates for special elections can be a covert and complicated process. A state lawmaker wants to change that

A fourth special election could also be needed, as Gainey is expected to pick his colleague, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, for a job in his administration, multiple sources have told the Capital-Star. His exit would lead to a second Pittsburgh House special election.

2 years ago

Bulk of Pa. mail ballots returned by midday

By: - 9:49 pm

Pennsylvania counties sent out more than 1 million mail ballots ahead of the Nov. 2 election, according to new data from the Department of State.

Of those ballots, 89 percent were no-excuse, mail-in ballots; 11 percent were absentee ballots. Voters had until 8 p.m. on Tuesday to return their ballots to their county elections office or a secure ballot drop box.

The Nov. 2 municipal election was the fourth in which counties operated with the no-excuse, mail-in voting option, and Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid said counties and voters are “perfecting their processes” under the provision.

Degraffenreid said that about 73 percent — more than 700,000 — of the total number of mail-in and absentee ballots sent to voters were returned by midday on Tuesday.

“Those numbers are as of earlier today, and so, we believe that those numbers are going to increase,” she said during a Tuesday night press conference.

2 years ago

Pa.’s top election official reports a ‘very smooth’ election

By: - 9:29 pm

An hour after polls closed, Pennsylvania’s top election official reported a “very smooth election” with no “major or widespread incidents.

“I can say confidently that Pennsylvania election officials are among the best at what they do,” acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid told reporters during a press conference at the Capitol.

The Department of State, which has election oversight, answered more than 788 calls to the voter information hotline, Degraffenreid said. In total, state election officials responded to and monitored 76 issues — “which is just slightly more than this year’s primary and consistent with the 2020 primary and both elections in 2019,” she added.

“There were no widespread or unusual issues, but there were some of the same isolated issues that are seen in every election,” Degraffenreid said, citing electioneering in polling places and late precinct openings.

Montgomery County extended voting hours at two polling locations due to an equipment delivery error that delayed voting, and an electronic poll book issue in Lehigh County.

She added: “In cases where voters filed complaints with us, we have directed those to county election officials, and the counties are following up with those voters.”

2 years ago

The view from Harrisburg’s mayoral race

By: - 9:28 pm

Via PennLive’s veteran reporter Charlie Thompson:

2 years ago

Xander Orenstein appears set to be the first non-binary judge elected to office in the U.S.

By: - 8:21 pm

Xander Orenstein appears set to be the first non-binary judge elected to office in the US. They won in a narrow primary, and are unopposed on the November ballot. We wrote about Orenstein earlier this year.

Last updated: 8:23 pm

2 years ago

The polls have closed, Pennsylvania. Let the count begin

By: - 8:15 pm

It’s 8:14 p.m., which means the polls across Pennsylvania are officially closed. But — and this is an important but — if you were in line at 8 p.m., you should still be allowed to vote.

Stay with us all night tonight for the result from the key races as they become available.

Last updated: 8:15 pm

2 years ago

Lebanon Co. school board rivals find common ground on Election Day

By: - 6:21 pm
(l-r): Mike Koval and Ryan Patrick outside the a polling place in Campbelltown (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

Campbelltown, Pa. — Standing on either side of the entrance of the polling place at the Campbelltown Fire Department on Tuesday, rivals for Palmyra School Board seats Ryan Patrick and Mike Koval kept the competition – and conversation – cordial. 

“We’re running an exit poll,” Patrick told the Capital-Star. 

While volunteers inside were selling chicken noodle, ham-and-bean, and vegetable soup, Patrick and Koval asked voters on their way out of the polling place, with soup in hand, which one they had chosen. 

“Chicken noodle seems to be winning,” Koval said, adding that ham and bean soup was catching up.

Koval and Patrick agreed that the vegetable soup likely would remain in last place. 

The two said that in an effort to stay warm on the cold and damp Election Day, they too, had sampled the soups.

Waiting for voters to trickle in, Koval and Patrick discussed everything from soup to college football, but avoided trash-talking each other, an uncharacteristic display in an intensely heated time in politics. 

Despite being rivals for the same job, Koval and Patrick seemed to make the most of the situation. 

“If he [Koval] wins he knows I’m going to be up his a**,” Patrick joked, adding that the same would be true if he won. 


Last updated: 6:22 pm

2 years ago

Local GOP committees ask voters to write-in controversial, extremist militia leader for Allegheny County Sheriff

By Ryan Deto

The Iron City Citizens Response Unit is an extremist militia group based in the Pittsburgh area that has generated a lot of controversy over the years, including associations with symbols linked to white nationalism, and having several Republican political candidates dissociate with the militia group after initially praising them.

And now, two local Republican committees in Allegheny County are asking voters to write-in the head of the militia group, Matt Wakulik, for Allegheny County Sheriff. Kevin Kraus is both the Democratic and Republican nominee for Allegheny County Sheriff for the 2021 election.

Matt Wakulik with Oakmont GOP Committee chair Veronica Steinkirchner in an Oct. 30 post encouraging voters to write-in Wakulik for Allegheny County Sheriff (Pittsburgh City Paper screen capture)

In a photo posted to Facebook on Oct. 30, the Oakmont GOP Committee seemingly endorsed Wakulik’s apparent write-in campaign. “Matt Wakulik write in for Allegheny County Sheriff” reads text next to a photo of Wakulik and Oakmont GOP Committee chair Veronica Steinkirchner.

When reached, the Oakmont GOP Committee declined to comment on the post. And on Nov. 1, the Pittsburgh 3rd City Council District Republican Committee posted on the committee’s Facebook page calling for voters to write-in Wakulik for sheriff.

Both Oakmont GOP Committee and Pittsburgh 3rd City Council District Republican Committee are listed as local committees of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County.

RCAC chair and Allegheny County Councilor at-large Sam DeMarco (R-North Fayette) said the RCAC does not support this write-in effort.

“I’ve not met or spoken to this gentleman, or know anything about him,” DeMarco said in reference to Wakulilk. “We are focused on electing the candidates we do have on the ballot today and that is where my efforts and that of the County Committee are focused.”

Wakulik once called Pittsburgh City Paper “communist” and the “enemy of America” when CP asked him about IC CRU members sporting Valknots, a symbol with associations to white nationalism. On his social media, Wakulik often derides “communists” and calls those with different ideologies “tyrants” and “evil” and seemingly supports violent vigilantism.

On Aug. 10, Wakulik posted praise on Facebook for the racist manifesto “Might is Right or The Survival of the Fittest,” an 1890 book that, according to NBC News, is “filled with misogynistic and anti-Semitic rhetoric, is a staple among neo-Nazis and white supremacists on extremist sites.”

In late August, a boat parade and rally was initially scheduled with several Republican candidates, conservative activist groups, and the IC CRU. But after being asked for comment by CP, candidates including Tony Moreno, a Republican candidate for Pittsburgh mayor, and Jason Richey, a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, dropped out of the event.

The boat parade was eventually canceled and the rally was moved to Verona, where many residents criticized the restaurant that hosted Wakulik and a string of far-right candidates, such as Rick Saccone.

On the Oakmont GOP Committee post, some commenters questioned the committee’s association with Wakulik.

In response, the Oakmont GOP Committee Facebook account wrote, “don’t be sorry, facts don’t care about your feelings dear. If you don’t like brave, law abiding, Constitution and America loving people like him then that’s your problem.”

Ryan Deto is a reporter from Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared

2 years ago

Total spending on open Supreme Court seat hits at least $7.7 million

By: - 5:07 pm

The 2021 state Supreme Court race has now cost at least $7.7 million, according to state campaign finance records.

That total includes all the funds raised by Republican Kevin Brobson and Democrat Maria McLaughlin since they launched their campaigns, as well as independent spending on the race from outside groups. 

The total could grow larger still when all independent expenditures and late donations are reported.

Deep-pocketed donors pour money into Pa. Supreme Court race

Brobson’s campaign has now raised a total of $3.3 million in direct and indirect contributions to his campaign, including an extra $475,000 in the last two weeks before the election. More than half of this last- minute cash infusion came from the state Republican Party.

McLaughlin’s  campaign, meanwhile, has raised $2.9 million in direct and indirect contributions. That includes $222,000 raised in the last two weeks before the election. Among those late donations is almost $55,000 from IBEW 98, the electricians’ union headed by John Dougherty.

The Supreme Court race has also been influenced by at least $1.48 million in independent expenditures by outside groups that legally cannot coordinate with the campaigns, $1.18 of which has been spent on the general election.

The independent spending skews heavily toward Brobson. Of it, nearly $1 million either attacked McLaughlin or boosted the Republican. Just $114,000 was in favor of McLaughlin.

Among the biggest independent spenders are the Republican State Leadership Committee — a national group that backs state-level Republicans — which spent $562,500 on TV ads and a text message campaign attacking McLaughlin, and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, which spent $293,000 on digital, TV and mail advertising supporting Brobson.

Another $300,000 was spent by independent groups, including the RSLC, to boost Brobson against two Republican primary opponents in May. Those two GOP candidates raised just $68,000 between themselves.

In 2015, with three Supreme Court seats — and the ideological balance of the court — on the ballot, political groups spent $16.5 million in Pennsylvania.

Regardless of the winner, this year’s election will not change the ideological leaning of the bench.

2 years ago

Montgomery Co. extends voting until 9 p.m. at two polling locations

By: - 3:50 pm

An equipment delivery error caused two polling locations, hosting four precincts, in Montgomery County to open late on Tuesday. 

To accommodate the delay, the county Board of Elections announced that voters who cast their ballots at Gotwals Elementary School and Cole Manor Elementary School will have until 9 p.m. to vote in the Nov. 2 general election.

Once the mistake was discovered, the equipment was moved to the correct location, Kelly Cofrancisco, a spokesperson for Montgomery County, said in a statement.

Voters with questions are instructed to call Montgomery County Voter Services at 610-278-3280.

All other precincts in Montgomery County will close at 8 p.m.

Last updated: 3:53 pm

2 years ago

Universal masking encouraged — but not required — at Pa. polling places

By: - 3:06 pm

The Pennsylvania Department of State asks that in-person voters wear a face-covering, regardless of their vaccination status. However, anyone not wearing a mask will still be allowed to vote.

“Please be advised that although we strongly encourage the use of a mask at the polling place, no one can be turned away from voting at the polls due to a lack of mask,” the York County Office of Elections reminded voters on Twitter.

Voters have until 8 p.m. to cast their ballots in person at the polls or return their mail-in or absentee ballot to their local elections office or a secure dropbox.

The Department of State, which has election oversight, also asks voters to bring a blue or black pen to mark their ballot and limit exposure to shared surfaces. Polling places across the state are urging voters to practice hand-washing and social distancing when turning out to vote in person.

Last updated: 3:07 pm

2 years ago

Women lead the Pa. ballot in 2021 judicial races

By: - 2:32 pm

Around midday in midtown Harrisburg, turnout was a bit higher than usual in the state’s capital city when Brittany Jenkins walked out of her polling place.

The 24-year-old said voting wasn’t at the top of her agenda until a group of coworkers bugged her to make her voice heard.

“You’re a woman, you’re a Black woman, you should exercise your right to vote,” Jenkins said her co-workers told her.

She declined to say for whom she cast her vote, but for voters such as Jenkins, the 2021 ballot will look a lot more like her than other years.

Of the eight candidates running for statewide judgeships, five are women — including two Black women. 

Jennie Sweet-Cushman, a Chatham University professor who has studied women in state politics, said the statewide judiciary has long been a bright spot.

“In general, the judicial branch has been where women political candidates in PA have been most successful,” she said in an email.

Building a ticket that matches Pennsylvania’s diversity could pose challenge for Democrats in 2022

The seven member Supreme Court is the only bench that has a majority of male justices. The Commonwealth and Superior Courts both have a majority of female judges.

Further down Jenkins’ ballot, Dauphin County Democrats nominated La Tasha Williams, a Black woman, for the Court of Common Pleas. Out of nine sitting judges in the county, just one judge is Black, and one is a woman.

And on the municipal level, sitting mayor Eric Papenfuse lost in the May primary to City Council President Wanda Williams, who is Black. Papenfuse is now running a heated write-in campaign to hold onto office.

Diane, a voter in her mid-50’s who declined to give her last name, said that she went with Papenfuse.

She didn’t like either candidate — she thought Williams was too divisive, and Papenfuse hadn’t been a presence in the city.

She didn’t think Papenfuse would win, but she was sure of one thing in city politics.

“I’m tired of the bickering,” Diane said.

2 years ago

Pittsburgh magistrate race turns contentious as Election Day nears

By Ryan Deto

PITTSBURGH —  Things are heating up between a Democrat and an Independent candidate running on criminal justice reform issues in the election for Magistrate District Judge in Pittsburgh’s West End.

In Magisterial District 05-3-13 — which includes the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Sheraden, Banksville, Westwood, Elliot, Fairywood, Oakwood, Chartiers, Crafton Heights, and East Carnegie — the primary election was won uncontested by Nick Martini on the Democratic and Republican ballots.

Usually, this would mean Martini would see an uncontested general election, but East Carnegie resident Holly Hickling has mounted an independent campaign, and in the final days of the race, it is really heating up.

Hickling, a program evaluation specialist for the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy, says she was motivated to run after no one emerged to challenge Martini, adding that she felt the West End deserved a judge focused on combating bias and reforming policies within the magistrate courtroom.

She said this contrasts with Martini’s campaign and believes that he will just follow the “status quo” in his father’s footsteps. Randy Martini, Nick’s father, is the incumbent judge and is not seeking re-election.

Nick Martini and Holly Hickling (Photos courtesy of their respective campaigns)

In this same vein, Hickling is also criticizing Martini for a campaign sign in the district implying that Martini has already won the seat, even before the general election.

At a ballfield in the West End, a banner reads “Magisterial District Judge Nick Martini,” complete with a large drawing of the state seal of Pennsylvania. The banner is next to several others on the fence of the ballfield, including banners for elected officials like Pittsburgh City Council President Theresa Kail-Smith and state Rep. Dan Deasy, as well as advertisements for local businesses. She calls Martini’s banner “dishonest.”

“He won the primary unopposed, so maybe he thinks that means he won the general election,” Hickling said. “But he could have taken it down after he had a challenger. It is deceptive. People who drive by there are getting the message that he is the incumbent.”

Martini said that the banner was put up after he won the primary election on the Democratic and Republican ballot unopposed, and that it was placed before he was aware he had any general election opponent. He said that a local West End athletic association is responsible for the banner and could take it down.

“At the time of purchase, I was the only person running. It was not purchased when [Hickling] was running,” Martini said. “When it was purchased, how was it dishonest or deceptive?”

In addition to squabbles over campaign banners, the race between Hickling and Martini offers two different visions for the Magistrate District Judge office. Magistrate District Court is directly below Common Pleas and judges are responsible for assigning bail conditions and deciding eviction cases, and is a defendant’s first introduction to the state’s criminal judicial system.

Hickling said she wants to reform policies that have become the norm within Allegheny County courts, wants to reduce the court’s reliance on things like cash bail, and use mitigation to help lower eviction rates. She said her campaign ideals are in line with Magistrate District Judges like Mik Pappas.

“Magistrates can reduce fines, but they can do so much more,” Hickling said, adding that she wants to lower the use of cash bail in her court if she were to win. “This could really affect someone’s life. You could use your judgment.”

Hickling grew up in the West End and moved back to Pittsburgh two years ago. She works at Pitt trying to evaluate how to reduce opioid-related deaths. She says that experience would be valuable as a judge.

“That’s a common ground we all know we can help,” Hickling said. “If a magistrate can help people connect to resources, we can get to the root causes of violence and conflict in our community.”

She says she would have run for Magistrate District Judge in the primary but didn’t switch over her registration in time. In the end, she is glad to run as an Independent, as she says she is not beholden to any political party.

Martini bristled at Hickling’s characterization of his campaign, and called the accusation that he would just follow in his father’s shadow “complete nonsense.”

“My father and I are two separate people. We have a 30-year-age gap,” Martini said. “I have been volunteering in our communities for 20 years. Nick Martini, in this community. I don’t know what legacy I am caring for, other than contributing to the community.”

Martini has worked as a public school teacher, on the staff of Councilor Theresa Kail-Smith, and as the Supervisor of the city of Pittsburgh’s Federal Community Block Grants programs. He has served on the Allegheny County Democratic Committee since 2006.

He says he is more qualified than Hickling for the office and is already certified by Pennsylvania’s Minor Judiciary Education Board.

“That is what I am running on, I am a community guy. I know our neighborhoods,” Martini said. “I have worked in all of them. I have worked with our residents to mediate and solve problems.”

Martini said that Hickling isn’t showcasing the unbiased nature needed to run for judge and that her campaign rhetoric “doesn’t play” when running for judge.

“This is a neutral, impartial decision-maker,” Martini said. “Some of her literature, she is a proponent of no cash bail and that people shouldn’t be evicted. That is not unbiased, we have a duty to hear about each case.”

Martini says he is compassionate and does not oppose policies to increase mediation and other leniency in the court, just that they should be applied on a case-by-case basis. For example, he says that strict cash fines for truancy cases can be problematic because parents might not be able to afford them and they don’t always teach the student any lessons.

“I am not opposed or against any of that, you have to apply those things fairly,” Martini said. “We have to be able to apply the law and sort this out. You need to give a fair hearing, and I don’t think they will get that with my opponent.”

Magisterial District 05-3-13 includes Pittsburgh wards 28 and 20 in the city’s West End and the neighborhood of Banksville. Election Day is Tue., Nov. 2 and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Ryan Deto is a reporter for Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared. 

Last updated: 11:18 am

2 years ago

Philly Black Clergy group urges voters to the polls

By Chanel Hill

PHILADELPHIA — On the eve of Election Day, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity announced the candidates it’s supporting in Tuesday’s general election. The group also urged residents to get out and vote.

“One final push, we believe, can also make a difference in getting people to do their civic duty on election day,” Wayne Weathers, the chairperson of the clergy group’s political action committee said Monday. “We’re urging everyone who registered to vote to go to the polls and vote Tuesday.”

Collier also encouraged all registered voters who did not vote by mail to vote at the polls.

“If you already registered to vote, you shouldn’t let anything stop you from getting to the polls tomorrow,” Collier said. “The actual process of in-person voting has run pretty smoothly in our city in the last two elections, even in spite of the pandemic.

“The three Philadelphia city commissioners that we have, have worked diligently to make sure that all the polling places in our city are clean, that there’s plenty of hand sanitizer available at the polling places, and face masks are required,” he said.

“If voters happen to incur any lines at some polling places, social distancing is still being advised. Bottom line, people need to come out and vote and exercise your rights as an American citizen,” he added. “No excuses. No complaints. Come out and vote.”

If you still have your mail-in ballot, it’s too late to mail it. The postmark doesn’t count. You have to personally deliver it to the County Board of Elections office, a satellite office, or drop box no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Polls open at 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you’re in line by 8 p.m., you can vote.

To report any election concerns (such as intimidation, interference, illegal voting, or unlawful electioneering), please contact the District Attorney’s Election Task Force at 215-686-9641.

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

2 years ago

What you need to know about voting today

By: - 9:19 am

Happy Election Day,  Pennsylvania!

Across the commonwealth, voters will be picking school board members, city councilors, mayors, and local and statewide judges at the polls.

If you still haven’t seen our reporters blasting it out via social media, our voting guide to those statewide judicial races is here.

For those voting in person, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.. Find your polling place here. Masks are encouraged, but not required in polling places.

If you are voting by mail-in ballot and already mailed it or dropped it off, you are set. If you are voting by mail-in ballot but haven’t dropped it off, you have until 8 p.m. to do so. Find where to bring your mail-in ballot here. The location will vary by county, but it is often at the county courthouse.

If you requested a mail-in ballot but now want to vote in-person, you can do that. Just make sure you bring your ballot and return envelope with you to your polling place, and hand them over to the poll workers. You will then be asked to sign a declaration, and you will vote by a regular ballot.

If you don’t have your mail-in ballot or envelope, you can still vote in-person, just you’ll vote by provisional ballots. The county election board will then verify that you didn’t vote by mail before the provisional ballot is counted.

If you run into any problems, the ACLU has hotlines to report problems. You can contact them at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for English and 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) for Spanish.

2 years ago

This Pa. county is streaming mail-in ballot processing. Here’s how to watch live

By: - 9:18 am

Not an elections official, volunteer, or poll watcher, but still want to watch the electoral process in action?

Interested viewers can watch more than 100 volunteers at work in Centre County as officials stream the vote-by-mail processing room on a live feed for the Nov. 2 general election.

Two feeds will broadcast the process, located inside the Penn State Hotel and Conference Center. Individuals can watch a split-screen of the room or a wide shot.

Several Pennsylvania counties, including Philadelphia and Allegheny, used live feeds to stream ballot-counting during the 2020 general election for added transparency. Centre County also recorded the process during the May 18 primary election.

The stream will conclude at 7 p.m. on Election Day and resume at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

In addition to volunteers, each political party and candidate can have one person in the pre-canvassing room to observe the process. 

Centre County officials expect full results will be available by 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

2 years ago

More than 970K Pa. voters applied to vote by mail ahead of Nov. 2 election

By: - 9:07 am

When polls opened this morning, thousands of Pennsylvania voters already cast their ballot by mail.

The Department of State, which has election oversight, reported more than 974,000 applications for mail-in ballots a week before the 2021 general election, the last day to request one. State data show that 634,000 mail-in ballots were returned to their county elections office before Nov. 2.

Allegheny County, a traditionally Democratic area, saw 139,447 mail-in ballot applications. Philadelphia County, another Democratic stronghold, followed with 107,452 requests.

Seventy percent of mail-in ballot requests, 683,773, came from registered Democrats. A total of 208,664 Republicans applied to vote by mail. The remaining number of applications, 81,982, came from remaining party affiliations, including Green, Libertarian, and independent registrants.


The bulk of statewide mail-in applications came from voters born in 1952, according to state data.

As of 4 p.m. on Monday, York County, which has 305,412 registered voters, said 70.8 percent of mail-in ballots — out of 30,061 sent — had been returned before Election Day.

County elections offices must receive ballots by 8 p.m. for them to count toward overall returns. A postmark is not enough.

Voters who have not voted by mail or absentee ballot can vote in person at their polling place on Election Day. If someone applied to vote by mail and changed their mind, they can still vote in person; however, they must bring their entire mail ballot packet, including the unvoted mail-in ballot and the outer return envelope with the voter’s declaration. If a voter no longer has their mail-in ballot and envelope, they can vote by provisional ballot at their polling place on Election Day.

Precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must be in line by 8 p.m. to cast their ballots. If it’s their first time voting at their designated polling place, voters must provide identification.

Before heading to the polls or returning a mail-in or absentee ballot, make sure to double-check the location online.

Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid issued a reminder on Monday, noting that Pennsylvania counties are not allowed to start counting mail-in ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day — meaning that counting won’t be complete until the days after the election.

For real-time results, check the Department of State’s election returns website. Updates will begin once polls close at 8 p.m.

“The public, candidates, and the media can find the most complete picture of how Pennsylvanians voted on our election returns site,” Degraffenreid said. “We collaborate with all 67 county election offices to consolidate results as soon as they are available.”

For more information on voting and elections in Pennsylvania, visit or call the toll-free hotline at 877-868-3772. 

Last updated: 9:10 am

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