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LIVE COVERAGE: The 2022 General Election in Pennsylvania


LIVE COVERAGE: The 2022 General Election in Pennsylvania

Nov 08, 2022 | 9:00 am ET
By Capital-Star Staff
LIVE COVERAGE: The 2022 General Election in Pennsylvania
(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.

2 hours ago

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

By: - Tuesday November 8, 2022 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. 

2 hours 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. 

2 hours 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.

3 hours ago

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

By: - 11:42 am

The Capital-Star spoke with Planned Parenthood national 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. 

4 hours 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 hours 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.

5 hours ago

A busy morning at one Lackawanna Co. polling place

By: - 9:43 am

From Capital-Star NEPA Correspondent Patrick Abdalla:

5 hours 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