Politics & Government

We cover politics and government with an eye to providing to voters clear, in-depth, nonpartisan information. 

Pennsylvania House, DelRosso campaign

Sitting in the late-summer sun at an outdoor restaurant in his hometown of Oakmont, Frank Dermody doesn't look like he has much to worry about. He’s been a state House member for nearly 30 years, and he’s led House Democrats for almost a decade. But if he wants to add to that legacy — and join a potential Democratic majority in the House next year — he'll first have to beat Republican Carrie DelRosso in the election next week.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

Voting rights activists – as well as Democrats – are pinning their hopes for a big turnout in this year’s election on mail-in voting. But some voters in Black communities don't plan to just sit back and mail it in.

'We Need You': GOP Hunts For New Voters In Trump Territory

6 hours ago
Gene J. Puskar / AP

President Donald Trump’s campaign has a bold theory for how he will win reelection: It can tap a universe of millions of supporters who did not vote for him in 2016 but will do so this time.

From Philly To Erie, 12 PA Voters Talk About Their Crucial Swing State Vote

19 hours ago
Dani Fresh / Keystone Crossroads

With a week to go until Election Day, Pennsylvania has lived up to its hype as a key battleground state that could decide the presidency. 

Trump Dominated Facebook In 2016. In 2020, Biden Is Outspending Him In PA

20 hours ago
Patrick Semansky / AP

In Pennsylvania, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign is pouring significantly more dollars into Facebook ads than President Donald Trump’s campaign leading up to Election Day.

Screenshot (left), Sarah Kovash (right) / 90.5 WESA (right)

Republican Congressional candidate Sean Parnell claimed victory in a voting rights lawsuit this week that challenged county election procedures, while Allegheny County officials called the challenge “a waste of time” that resulted in no change in those procedures. 

Chris Szagola / AP

President Donald Trump embarked Monday on a final-week charge through nearly a dozen states ahead of the election, overlooking a surge of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and a fresh outbreak in his own White House. His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, is holding far fewer events in an effort to demonstrate that he’s taking the worsening pandemic seriously.

The final days of the campaign are crystalizing the starkly different approaches Trump and Biden have taken to address the worst public health crisis in a century — with risks for each candidate.

Matt Slocum / AP

Prosecutors across the state are collaborating with election workers to ensure in-person voting on November 3rd goes smoothly.

Matt Slocum / AP

The Pennsylvania Republican Party is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to speedily take up its case to block counties in the presidential battleground state from counting mailed-in ballots received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential bid got a boost in western Pennsylvania from a one-time rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, this weekend. Sanders, a democratic socialist and political independent, espouses more ambitious policies on issues like the environment and healthcare, but said he and Biden have the same immediate goal: defeating the man Sanders called  “the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country,” as well as a “pathological liar.” 

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.”

Matt Slocum / AP

Former President Barack Obama visited Philadelphia Wednesday for his first in-person campaign events of the election cycle on behalf of Joe Biden.

Matt Slocum / AP

A new lawsuit is challenging Pennsylvania’s court-ordered deadline to count mail-in ballots that are received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election in the presidential battleground state.

Plaintiffs in the suit filed Thursday include a Republican congressional candidate and four registered voters from Somerset County.

The lawsuit comes three days after the U.S. Supreme Court, divided 4-4, rejected a Republican plea making a similar argument.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: The FCC is calling on governors to regulate rates and fees for intrastate phone calls; LGBTQ candidates in the general election could encourage more people from underrepresented groups to run for office; and drive-in theaters are enjoying a resurgence in popularity during the pandemic. 

Emma Lee / WHYY


On today's program: Allegheny County Rich Fitzgerald has proposed a new department for children initiatives; a new report showcases problems with policing and ways to address them; and voters discuss the reliability of election results. 

Carrie Antlfinger / AP

The Allegheny County Elections Division has managed to completely process all of the mail-in ballot applications it has received so far, with two weeks to go until the November election, and is working around the clock to finalize other important details -- all while being swamped with questions from voters.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

President Donald Trump pushed into arguably the most important state on the electoral map on Tuesday, opting for a rally in Pennsylvania instead of formal debate practice two days ahead of the final presidential debate that may be his last, best chance to alter the trajectory of the 2020 campaign.

Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Election Day is in just two weeks. But concerns about slow mail delivery, voter suppression, and baseless claims of fraud have voters on both sides wondering if the results can be trusted.

90.5 WESA


On today's program: A task force assembled in June released its report about current police practices; three clinical trials for potential coronavirus vaccines were paused after some participants got sick; and this year’s flu shot could serve as a dress rehearsal for when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available. 

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and members of the Community Taskforce for Police Reform presented their recommendations for changes in policing on Monday.


Monday was the last day in Pennsylvania to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election in which the presidential battleground state is playing a central role in the contest between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Voter registration in the state hit a record high in this cycle.

State elections officials said Monday that voter rolls in Pennsylvania passed 9 million.

High Court Allows 3-Day Extension For Pennsylvania Ballots

Oct 19, 2020
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Supreme Court will allow Pennsylvania to count ballots received up to three days after the election, rejecting a Republican plea.

Tim Tai / Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania’s top election official is confident that “the overwhelming majority” of the state’s votes will be counted soon after Nov. 3, even as a record number of residents register to vote and apply to cast ballots by mail.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: Allegheny County solicitor Andy Szefi answers questions about voting ahead of the general election; and this year, voters might not know election results on election night.

Carrie Antlfinger / AP

An appellate court judge in Pennsylvania has turned down an emergency petition from Republicans seeking to block the Philadelphia suburb of Delaware County from operating a three-day early voting center in the city of Chester. 

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Supporters of President Donald Trump caravanned through the city of Pittsburgh midday on Saturday. 

Deadline Looms To Defuse Pennsylvania's Budget Time Bomb

Oct 16, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Months after passing a partial budget that avoided some hard decisions, Pennsylvania's Legislature and governor face a deadline at the end of November to finish the job and plug a multibillion-dollar deficit.

Screenshot (left), Sarah Kovash (right) / 90.5 WESA (right)

Suburban Pennsylvania voters may reshape the national political landscape this year, and that’s especially true in places like the 17th Congressional District outside of Pittsburgh, where Democrat Conor Lamb is being challenged by Republican Sean Parnell.