Pennsylvania Voting FAQ

WESA answers your questions about voting in person, secrecy envelopes, incorrectly filled-out envelopes, and more.

Politics & Government

Emma Lee / WHYY

Debra Beckey thinks the country needs change in November.

Matt Slocum / AP

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is prohibiting counties from rejecting ballots because the voter’s signature on it may not resemble their signature on their registration form.

Two Republican justices joined five Democratic justices in Friday's decision, which addresses a key concern surrounding an avalanche of mail-in ballots in the presidential battleground state.

PA Reaching Out To More Than 4,000 Voters After Glitch Sends Them Two Mail Ballots

Oct 22, 2020
Courtesy of Stephen Klein

State employees are reaching out to up to 4,300 Pennsylvania voters who requested a mail ballot, after a computer glitch caused them to be sent two ballots by mistake.

Department of State spokesperson Ellen Lyon said Thursday the issue was due to a printing error.

“We are continuing to investigate and monitor this to see if other factors are contributing to this issue, and to prevent future duplicate ballots from going out,” Lyon said Thursday. “We are going to be using email and phone calls to contact the voters.”

Science, Health & Tech

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania reported its largest daily total of new coronavirus cases on Friday, as an additional 2,219 Pennsylvanians have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A large, for-profit Pennsylvania nursing home where dozens of residents died of COVID-19 was sued Wednesday over allegations that it failed to take basic steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Education

WHYY File

A new bipartisan bill in Harrisburg would prohibit nearly two dozen universities in Pennsylvania from asking applicants about their criminal records.

Commonwealth Media Services

A state senator Wednesday called on officials of Pennsylvania’s system of public universities to prioritize solutions to address racism and inequity experienced by students of color as part of a larger planned restructuring.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Brunot Island Once Hosted Explorers, Automobile Races And Now, Lots Of Wildlife

Brunot Island sits quietly in the Ohio River. Overgrown grass carpets the banks of the island and driftwood thuds against remnants of old steel slabs and “No Trespassing” signs. Electrical towers loom over the tallest trees, connected by dozens of wires.

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Identity & Justice

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Attorneys for the family of a man killed by Wilkinsburg Police have filed a federal lawsuit citing excessive force. Romir Talley was fatally shot by Wilkinsburg Police officer Robert Gowans in December 2019.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, also includes claims of unreasonable seizure and improper training of officers by the police department.

Charlie Riedel / AP

Allegheny County Council joined Pittsburgh City Council Tuesday in voting unanimously to ban hair discrimination in employment, education, housing, and other settings. 

Development & Transportation

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Dozens of Hazelwood residents and people from surrounding communities spoke out against a non-profit sponsored shuttle service at a public meeting Wednesday evening. Nearly 200 people joined the video call, which lasted just over two hours. 

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


On a chilly October evening, Vicki Potter stands in a gravel parking lot in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. The scent of popcorn mixes with the gasoline from nearby idling cars. Patrons are masked and sitting in the beds of trucks and trunks of minivans as an old-timey concession stand advertisement blares over the loudspeakers.

Renee Rosensteel / Duolingo

East Liberty-based Duolingo announced Wednesday a multi-year fund to support local artists and arts organizations. The language-learning app developer made the announcement as the company officially unveiled a new public mural on the Duolingo headquarters on Penn Avenue. 

The company says it will put up $150,000 over the next three years to fund public art projects and support arts organizations. The first art grant has been awarded to two local artists towards the creation of a new mural in East Liberty.  

The Squirrel Hill Café is one of those taverns that seems like it’s always been there. And in a way, it has: The one-time fruit and candy store near the corner of Forbes and Murray avenues became a restaurant and lounge in 1934, just after Prohibition ended.

Environment & Energy

Fracking Project At U.S. Steel Plant Denied Local Permit Extension

15 hours ago
Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A controversial natural gas well at a US Steel Plant near Pittsburgh suffered a setback Thursday night. The East Pittsburgh Borough zoning hearing board denied an appeal by a fracking company to have a lapsed permit for the well reinstated. 

Report: Radiation Levels Higher Downwind Of Fracking Sites

Oct 16, 2020
Ralph Wilson / AP

A team of Harvard researchers found elevated levels of radioactivity on air particles measured downwind of fracking sites around the country.

Economy & Business

Emma Lee / WHYY

The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to the loss of up to 15,600 child care spots in Allegheny County, and could push parents of young children out of the workforce if those losses become permanent, according to a new report.

Local Headlines

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On this week’s Explainer:

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

WESA’s Lucy Perkins outlines what happened that caused nearly 29,000 misprinted ballots to go out to Allegheny County residents. County elections officials are blaming the error on a third-party vendor.

Food & Drink

Wolf Offers $20M Relief Plan For Bars And Restaurants

15 hours ago
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania plans to offer $20 million in relief to the state’s beleaguered hospitality industry, the governor announced Thursday, an amount trade groups called woefully inadequate for helping bars and restaurants survive the pandemic.

National & International

A NASA spacecraft sent out to collect a sample of rock and dust from an asteroid has nabbed so much that it's created an unexpected problem.

Rocks are jammed in the device in a way that's keeping a Mylar flap open, creating a gap that's letting some of the collected pebbles and dust drift out into space.

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