Politics & Government

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

Mel Evans / AP

The votes are in – most of them, anyway – and in Allegheny County, there were at least two big groups of winners on Election Day: female candidates, and the elections workers themselves.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Following a rash of social media videos and media stories examining how and why Pittsburgh police broke up a protest in East Liberty on Monday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has said he's requesting investigations by the Citizen Police Review Board and the Office of Municipal Investigations.  

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Amid conflicting accounts over what led Pittsburgh police to break up a protest in East Liberty Monday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto vowed to review transcripts of police communications “line by line” to determine what actually happened. But the mayor said at a news conference late Monday night that he would not make the transcripts public, a move that has prompted criticism from some transparency advocates.

Pennsylvania Counts Ballots After A Light-On-Drama Primary

7 hours ago
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Election officials faced a mountain of still-uncounted ballots Wednesday after a Pennsylvania primary held amid civil unrest, a pandemic, the introduction of new voting machines in some counties and the debut of mail-in balloting that pushed county bureaus to their limits.

Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Reopening the economy has become a polarizing issue, and how elected leaders handle the task could sway voters’ decisions at the ballot box in November. For our Split Ticket series, we asked four western Pennsylvania voters about how they view reopening strategies.

Matt Rourke / AP

Allegheny County elections officials spent Tuesday night and the early hours of Wednesday morning churning through hundreds of thousands of ballots for the primary election. Election officials called it a night around 2:30 a.m., having tallied more than 263,000 ballots, with more to go.

Trump, Biden Win Pennsylvania Primary Amid Unrest, Pandemic

21 hours ago
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania held a primary election Tuesday amid civil unrest, a pandemic, the introduction of new voting machines in some counties and the debut of mail-in balloting that pushed county election bureaus to their limits.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Despite consolidated polling locations, the coronavirus pandemic, and protests across the city, voters showed up in person to cast their primary ballots in Pittsburgh Tuesday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Given that Pennsylvania’s 2020 primary is taking place amid a global pandemic and nationwide unrest over policing, voting has preceded quietly in Allegheny County since the polls opened at 7 a.m. With two hours left to go before polls closed at 8 p.m., there were few problems to report -- although lines at some polling places were getting longer as the workday ended. An Allegheny County Judge, in fact, agreed to keep the polls open at the Penn Hills Libary on Stotler Road until 9 p.m., owing to concerns about access to the site. 


Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: While protests continue across the country, organizers worry some may be losing sight of the goal; how Pennsylvania chooses to reopen could sway voters in the next election; and voters get ready for Pennsylvania’s primary elections today. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania is holding a primary election Tuesday amid civil unrest, a pandemic, the introduction of new voting machines in some counties and the debut of mail-in balloting that has pushed county election bureaus to their limits.

Governor Moves Deadline To Count Mail-In Ballots Amid Unrest

Jun 1, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Amid protests over George Floyd’s death across Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday that he is ordering Philadelphia and five other counties to keep counting ballots in the primary election that arrive by mail for up to seven days after Tuesday's 8 p.m. deadline.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that the deadline in six counties for mail-in ballots for the June 2 primary election to arrive at county election offices will be extended by one week.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania state government's revenue shortfall grew in May to $2.6 billion, as the effects of the state's coronavirus-related shutdowns and delayed tax-filing deadlines hammered tax collections for a third straight month.

Your Questions About Voting In The Pennsylvania Primary, Answered

Jun 1, 2020
Tom Downing, Emily Previti, Ben Pontz / PA Post

The June 2 primary in Pennsylvania is occurring during an exceptional event — the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Tuesday marks the 2020 primary, but this year’s will be a little different due to the coronavirus pandemic. In order to help you prepare, we’ve put together this checklist of things to know:

Tuesday's Primaries Become Test Run For Campaigning During Coronavirus

Jun 1, 2020
Alan Diaz / AP

Tuesday's primaries in eight states are the biggest test to date of campaigning during the coronavirus era, a way for parties to test-drive new ways of getting out the vote during a time when it can be dangerous to leave your home.

Legislature Sends $25B Budget, Virus Aid Bill To Wolf

May 29, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

A piecemeal, no-new-taxes $25.8 billion budget headed to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk Thursday, as did legislation to distribute about $2.6 billion in emergency federal coronavirus aid to counties, nursing homes and wide range of other causes.

A federal judge ruled late Wednesday that the Pennsylvania Department of State must provide a way for visually-impaired voters to fill out an absentee or mail-in ballot online, print it at home and return it to their county elections office. 

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Plow Ahead On Budget, Emergency Aid

May 28, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

A temporary, no-new-taxes $25.8 billion spending package headed to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk on Thursday, passed in speedy fashion barely 48 hours after its details first became public in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Flood Of Mail-In Ballots Spurs Fight To Change Deadlines

May 28, 2020
Carrie Antlfinger / AP

Some county and state officials are warning that a flood of mailed-in ballots in Pennsylvania -- fueled by fears of in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic -- will create a number of problems in Tuesday’s primary election that must be fixed before they cause a disaster in this battleground state in November’s presidential election.

Provided by the candidates

The Pennsylvania Auditor General completes well over 3,000 audits of publicly funded agencies each year, reviewing the work of state agencies and prisons, down to school boards and volunteer firefighter relief associations. 

Will Mail-In Voting Turn Election Day Into Election Week?

May 27, 2020
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A shift to mail voting is increasing the chances that Americans will not know the winner of November’s presidential race on election night, a scenario that is fueling worries about whether President Donald Trump will use the delay to sow doubts about the results.


Joe Biden offered high praise for Pennsylvania’s chief executive on Wednesday, saying Gov. Tom Wolf’s phased plan for easing coronavirus restrictions is “the kind of thing we should be doing nationally.”

Jake Wheatley Facebook Page/"Friends of Aerion Abney" via Facebook

Pennsylvania primary elections were moved to June 2 because of COVID-19. But even amid all the changes, next week voters will have two familiar options when casting ballots in the 19th State House District: incumbent Jake Wheatley and Aerion Abney.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Legislation that would establish paid sick leave at Allegheny County workplaces is poised to receive a thorough vetting, with a vote possible in September. On Tuesday, health and human services committee chair Cindy Kirk said that in coming weeks, her committee will hold additional meetings and public hearings on the bill, which would grant three to five paid sick days a year to most people who work full-time within the county.

With PA's Last-Minute Polling Place Changes, Voters Might Get Conflicting Information

May 26, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Almost 20,000 Pennsylvanians have visited the Department of State’s website during the past week to check where their polling place will be for the June 2 primary.

Pennsylvania Preps Short-Term Budget Amid Virus Uncertainty

May 26, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania state government was preparing a temporary no-new-taxes budget plan Tuesday that maintains current spending levels while budget makers watch to see how badly tax collections are damaged by coronavirus-related shutdowns and whether the federal government sends another aid package to states.


Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court live-streamed oral arguments for the first time in history, to limit the spread of COVID-19. Videos of the court sessions now reside on YouTube, but the media is prohibited from using any of the footage in news broadcasts.

Courtesy of Friends of Chris Roland and Friends of Summer Lee

One of the most contentious primaries for the state House next week pits Democratic state Rep. Summer Lee against North Braddock borough councilor Chris Roland. While Lee is an ardent progressive, Roland says he favors a more moderate approach. Their race brings long-simmering tensions within the Democratic Party to the surface.