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Live updates on the Pa. governor, Senate & U.S. House elections

Published November 8, 2022 at 6:02 AM EST
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Here's what you need to know:

Winding down the live election blog

Posted November 10, 2022 at 10:06 AM EST

Thanks for following election updates with WESA. Major election news has slowed to a trickle, so we're officially going to shut down this live blog. Continue to follow our political coverage at

Few issues reported at the polls on Tuesday

Posted November 9, 2022 at 3:33 PM EST

With the exception of a ballot paper shortage in a northeastern county, many election officials across the commonwealth let out a cautious sigh of relief Tuesday night.

“Do you have any wood to knock on?” Cumberland County communications director Samantha Kretts. “Here I found some faux wood here…this better work.”

Kretts let out a nervous laugh after saying her county had not encountered any notable issues at polls or even as the elections office adapted to day-of rulings on undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots.

Her sentiment was echoed by several other county spokespersons and election directors across the midstate Tuesday as it became more and more clear that newsworthy critical failures or incidents of disenfranchisement were not going to surface.

Read more here.

Democrats could see significant gains in the state House

Posted November 9, 2022 at 1:14 PM EST

Democrats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are likely to make significant gains in the chamber, and some even see hope they could retake the majority once smoke clears from the Tuesday election, which began with their party 23 seats behind the Republican majority.

Democrats were facing a couple of potential losses in western Pennsylvania and one in Wilkes-Barre, while Republicans were trailing in key races outside Philadelphia and others near Harrisburg, the Poconos and the Pittsburgh area.

Republicans hold the chamber 113-90, so Democrats would need a net pickup of 12 to retake the majority for the first time in 12 years. More favorable district maps and wins by Democrats in high-profile races for governor and U.S. Senate, along with Republican retirements, contributed to the shift.

Read more here.

Republican incumbents Mike Kelly and Guy Reschenthaler win Congressional races

Posted November 9, 2022 at 12:44 PM EST

Republican incumbent Congressman Mike Kelly handily defeated Democratic challenger Dan Pastore in the 16th U.S. House District, a decidedly Republican district that stretches from Erie to Butler County.

U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler will continue representing the 14th Congressional District, after running unopposed. The 14th District includes Washington, Greene and Fayette counties, and parts of Westmoreland, Somerset and Indiana counties.

Check out our full roundup of U.S. House elections in Pennsylvania.

Mastriano still hasn't conceded

Posted November 9, 2022 at 11:41 AM EST

The AP called the Pennsylvania governor race for Josh Shapiro just after midnight last night, but Republican candidate Doug Mastriano has not yet conceded.

Spotlight PA's Katie Meyer — who used to cover Harrisburg for WESA — noted that Mastriano recently posted this picture to his Facebook account.

Mastriano has repeatedly denied that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election and led efforts to overturn that election in Pennsylvania.

ICYMI: Sen. Bob Casey cracked a beer to cheer Fetterman's victory last night

Posted November 9, 2022 at 10:40 AM EST

Back in 2020, Sen. Bob Casey popped open a beer at 11 a.m. to celebrate the certification of President Biden's victory.

Casey was at it again last night, celebrating when the Associated Press called the Senate race for fellow Democrat John Fetterman. According to his video — which was posted at 3:12 a.m. — he's drinking a beer from Pittsburgh's Cinderlands Beer Co.

Tune in to 1A and catch WESA's Chris Potter talking about the Pa. election

Posted November 9, 2022 at 10:17 AM EST

As always, on 90.5 FM or click the play button above!

Oz concedes, according to Fetterman

Posted November 9, 2022 at 9:54 AM EST

Photos from Pa. election night parties

Posted November 9, 2022 at 8:13 AM EST

6 national takeaways

Posted November 9, 2022 at 7:46 AM EST

NPR's Domenico Montanaro rounds up key takeaways from the national political scene, noting: "There's still a lot we don't know, but one thing we do know is that Republicans did not have the night they were hoping for."

His analysis:

  • The Senate remains undecided and may take weeks to resolve due to a potential runoff in Georgia
  • Republicans underperformed in the House and blame will be directed at former President Donald Trump
  • Democrats appear to slip with Latino voters again

Read more.

Barb Warwick wins City Council District 5 race to replace Corey O'Connor

Posted November 9, 2022 at 7:06 AM EST

Read Kiley's preview of the District 5 race here.

Local incumbents win reelection to state House

Posted November 9, 2022 at 6:44 AM EST

While several races remain too close to call, Allegheny County Democrats can celebrate victories by incumbent state Reps. Emily Kinkead (20th House District), Sara Innamorato (21st House District), Dan Frankel (23rd House District), Brandon Markosek (25th House District), Daniel Deasy (27th House District), Dan Miller (42nd House District) and Anita Kulik (45th House District). The Associated Press has called all those races.

Republican incumbent state Reps. Natalie Mihalek (40th House District) and Valerie Gaydos (44th House District) held strong leads in their elections, but the AP has not officially called those races yet.

Rep. Austin Davis was also reelected to the state House, but since he was elected to the lieutenant governor's office, a special election will be held to replace him. Same goes for Rep. Summer Lee, who is headed to Congress.

Similarly, Rep. Tony DeLuca posthumously won reelection in the 32nd District; a special election will be held to fill that seat.

Find all our live updated election results here.

A morning recap of last night's key results

Posted November 9, 2022 at 5:35 AM EST

Mornin'. Last night was busy, so let's sum up what we know:

As expected, counties raced to tally votes through the evening. (Allegheny County finished at midnight). What wasn't as expected was for some key races to be called last night.

The big story is John Fetterman, who defeated Dr. Mehmet Oz in a pivotal U.S. Senate race. This is the seat currently occupied by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey and was an essential pickup for Democrats hoping to maintain control of the U.S. Senate. WESA's Oliver Morrison was at the Fetterman campaign event last night and has a full write-up of the former Braddock mayor's victory.

Democrat Josh Shapiro, meanwhile, coasted to victory in the governor race over Republican Doug Mastriano. The Associated Press called the race just after midnight; as of 5:30 this morning, Shapiro held a substantial 55.5% – 42.7% margin in that race. As WESA's Chris Potter notes, the outcome of the governor's racewas widely considered to be crucial for the future of voting laws, abortion access, climate action and a slew of other issues in Pennsylvania.

In the Pittsburgh area, state Rep. Summer Lee is poised for a major promotion — after holding off Republican Mike Doyle, she will become U.S. Rep. Summer Lee in January. Lee will become Pennsylvania's first Black congresswoman, as WESA's Kiley Koscinscki reports.

Just outside of the city, Democrat Chris Deluzio bested Republican Jeremy Shaffer in the crucial battleground of the 17th Congressional District. WESA's Kate Giammarise reports Deluzio credited organized labor as a driving force behind his win.

Voters reject resign-to-run rule, approve Wilkinsburg government commission study

Posted November 9, 2022 at 1:18 AM EST

Allegheny County voters chose to repeal a “resign-to-run” rule that required county council members to give up their seat on the 15-member council before they run for another local, state or federal elected position.

With 97% of precincts reporting,58% of residents voted to change the rule.

Now, county council members can retain their seats while running for other offices, which officials seeking other elected positions in the county have been allowed to do since the county charter was first written.

Read more here.

Shapiro to become Pa.'s next governor

Posted November 9, 2022 at 12:30 AM EST

Democrat Josh Shapiro has won the race for governor of Pennsylvania. His victory Tuesday over Republican Doug Mastriano secures the office for four years in a state where the future of abortion rights is on the line. Shapiro will also effectively manage the 2024 election in a state that is often decisive in choosing presidents. Shapiro is the state’s two-term elected attorney general. He ran to the middle on several key issues and smashed Pennsylvania’s campaign finance record in a powerhouse campaign. Mastriano ran a hard-right campaign and was a point person in former President Donald Trump’s drive to stay in power.

Read more here.

Summer Lee will become Pa.'s first Black congresswoman

Posted November 9, 2022 at 12:11 AM EST

Summer Lee has been elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House. She will be Pennsylvania’s first Black congresswoman. Republican Mike Doyle has conceded.

Democrat-heavy Pittsburgh dominates the 12th District. That’s why observers expected all of the drama in the race to replace longtime Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle, who announced hisretirement last year, would take place in the May primary. But the tension continued through election day itself, as Lee faced strong headwinds, outside money and a Republican challenger with the same name as — but is no relation to — the outgoing incumbent.

Read more here.

Democrat Lindsey Williams holds onto state Senate 38th District

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:42 PM EST
Democrat Pennsylvania state senator Lindsey Williams stands near the flag at the Shaler Municipal buiding where her office is on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Glenshaw, Pa.
Keith Srakocic
Democrat Pennsylvania state senator Lindsey Williams stands near the flag at the Shaler Municipal buiding where her office is on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Glenshaw, Pa.

Democrat Lindsey Williams won Pennsylvania’s 38th Senate District over Republican Lori Mizgorski. This will be Williams’ second term in the seat.

In her victory speech, Williams attributed her early win to high voter turnout and in-person outreach.

“If you know me you know field is so important to me and that’s why we’re here this early is the amount of conversations and the volunteer phone calls and text messages and door knocks that happened from every single one of the volunteers,” Williams said.

She estimated representatives for her campaign knocked on 58,000 doors.

Shaffer concedes to Deluzio in 17th District, a crucial battleground

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:42 PM EST

Republican Jeremy Shaffer has conceded the race for Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional district to Democrat Chris Deluzio.

The two white-collar professionals have been squaring off in the 17th, a swing district that joins Beaver County to a suburban swath of Allegheny County. The geography encompasses college-educated suburbs with working-class industrial and post-industrial communities.

Read more here.

Group says its members were those identified in earlier election court order

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:05 PM EST

A spokesman for Pennsylvania Voice – a partnership of more than 50 organizations working to expand power for communities of color – identified members of its elections protections teams as the subjects of a cease-and-desist order issued earlier Tuesday by the Allegheny County Election Court.

In a statement Tuesday night, Pennsylvania Voice Executive Director Salewa Ogunmefun said those people were part of its program to dispatch election protection teams to support voters around the state.

Among them were “voter guardian teams” to protect voters from attempts to intimidate them and roving teams with more advanced de-escalation training to prevent incidents from occurring, Ogunmefun said. “Our small security teams are prepared to step in if needed.”

The court order — one of several issued Tuesday – named several individuals with an entity called "The Commission Security." The order said they were "purporting to be poll security" and required them to "cease and desist from traveling to or entering any polling place in Allegheny County and/or interfering with the operations and functioning of any polling place."

County officials said election workers received a call about individuals claiming to have a contract to provide security and asking voters for information. "Commission" members had left by the time sheriff’s deputies arrived, so the deputies were unable to serve the order to a representative of the group. But they advised poll workers in Wilkinsburg to keep an eye out for the group, county officials said.

In his statement, Ogunmefun said the work of his group’s election teams went unquestioned in every Pennsylvania county but Allegheny.

“We have a large program designed to support voters on election day, and this effort to have Black security guards protecting Black voters in Allegheny County is only a small part of that larger program,” he said.

“What happened in Allegheny County is that an unarmed, all-Black security team that was working to support and protect voters in communities of color was singled out. This is an incredibly skilled and well-trained team that goes about its work with the highest professional standards,” he said.

In response, Allegheny County Communications Director Amie Downs said the group’s characterization of its actions and those of the county was “wrong.”

Downs, in a statement, said local election officials contacted Elections Court to report that representatives of the group, including Black and white people, were entering polling places without authorization. Some carried firearms, and at least one of them said the group had “a contract with elections,” which was not true, Downs said. She did not identify the locations of those polling places.

County attorneys assigned to Election Court and the Sheriff’s Office contacted 14 other precincts, all of which reported similar issues, Downs said. Poll workers there reported that they felt intimidated by the presence of members of the group and asked them to leave, she said.

“Ultimately, an order to cease and desist was issued ordering these individuals to stop interfering with the functioning of the election,” she said. County officials could not find a representative of the group, however, to serve the order, she added.

Also Tuesday, the court ordered a man to stop filming and taking photographs inside a polling location earlier today after election workers observed him doing do. Lawyers from the county cited state statutes and case law establishing that videotaping inside a polling place may be considered voter intimidation.

“A constable told him not to do that but he would not accept that so we ended up sending a sheriff,” said county attorney Dennis Biondo. The man voluntarily left the polling place, which was not identified, after he was served with the order.

The court also issued a cease-and-desist order barring an Upper St. Clair Republican Committee officer from entering any polling place in Allegheny County. The court issued the order in response to reports that the party official instructed poll workers to orally announce who people were voting for as they cast their ballots.

Climate change, student debt among top concerns of young Democrats in southwest Pa.

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:09 PM EST

The president of the Young Democrats of Allegheny County says climate change and economic concerns are the two main issues bringing voters between the ages of 18 and 40 to the polls.

John Ukenye said young residents in his cohort worry whether they will be able to buy a home, or achieve the same economic prosperity their parents did amid soaring inflation.

“All of these anxieties are kind of culminating and leading to a lot of not so much apathy but anxiety among people in our age group,” Ukenye said.

College and student debt, Ukenye continued, have amplified those anxieties. President Joe Biden’s sweeping student debt relief plan is temporarily on hold as the result of a court challenge last month.

“I'm talking about our student debt is not just something you just cancel once and forget about it, but it's a more of a systemic issue that needs to be attacked more holistically,” he added.

Ukenye attended the watch party for Democrat Mandy Steele, who is vying for the Pennsylvania state house’s 33rd district seat. The Young Democrats endorsed Steele for her climate-focused agenda.

“I think focusing on green jobs and revitalizing the economy here locally with green jobs is something that is a winning platform to expand our base, reach people that we have kind of forgotten or have not reached out to who feel the pain at the pump,” Ukenye said.

In terms of energizing young voters in Allegheny County, Ukenye said Summer Lee’s campaign has been exceptional in its efforts.

“Giving them something to vote for instead of what many young people feel like are being given something to vote against, I think has made a big difference in increasing youth turnout here locally,” Ukenye added.

Where to find WESA reporters and our statewide partners this evening

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:55 PM EST

U.S. Senate

Republican Mehmet Oz – @WHYY

Democrat John Fetterman – Oliver Morrison

Pennsylvania Governor

Republican Doug Mastriano - Sam Dunklau and Rachel McDevitt

Democrat Josh Shapiro – @WHYY

Allegheny County Republicans, including 17thCongressional District candidate Jeremy Shaffer and 12thCongressional District candidate Mike DoyleAn-Li Herring

12thCongressional District – Democrat Summer Lee – Kiley Koscinski

17thCongressional District – Democrat Chris Deluzio – Kate Giammarise

State House 30thDistrict – Democrat Arvind Venkat – Sarah Boden

State House 33rdDistrict - Democrat Mandy Steele - Jillian Forstadt-

State Senate 38thDistrict – Democrat Lindsey Williams – Julia Zenkevich

Department of State – Anthony Orozco, WITF

Election results for key Pennsylvania races

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:00 PM EST

With polls now closed, election results are going to be coming in. Expect a chunk just after 8 p.m. and then more results to trickle in through the evening.

Here are results for the Senate election:

And the governor election:

We also have this handy page with election results for all the major races, including U.S House and the Pennsylvania State Senate and House.

Polls are closing soon

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:29 PM EST

If you haven't already, get ye to your polling place.

Polls close at 8 p.m., but if you're in line, you'll be allowed to vote.

Pittsburgh college students and provisional ballots

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:13 PM EST
Pitt sophomores Chelsea Adinuba and Ezinne Anyanwu, first-time voters.
Margaret J. Krauss
90.5 WESA
Pitt sophomores Chelsea Adinuba and Ezinne Anyanwu, first-time voters.

On the University of Pittsburgh’s campus, students headed after classes for the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union.

First-year student Leo Worthington said “everything” was on the ballot this year: “Abortion, climate change, gay rights, trans rights.”

“I wish certain things in this country were better-protected where I didn’t have to worry about them being taken away every election cycle,” added Worthington, who is from Maryland but registered to vote in Pennsylvania because it’s a battleground state.

Some student voters who cast their ballot Tuesday in Oakland were registered in other Pennsylvania counties but voted provisionally, said Ben Wainwright. He’s the vice president of Pitt’s ACLU Club, which set up booths at four polling locations to answer questions and ask students about their experiences. The effort was supported by the youth-led nonprofit organization RISE, which advocates for college accessibility and getting out the vote.

“They are registered to vote in other counties and were allowed to vote in the election but only for certain positions – I believe [in] the statewide elections,” he said.

Wainwright said he also talked with students who requested a mail-in ballot but had not sent it in and instead showed up to polling locations to ask what to do. He and others advised them to surrender their ballots and ask to vote provisionally.

It is not clear whether those ballots ultimately will be counted. Attorney Chuck Pascal, who often represents Democrats in election-related disputes, said he doubted students registered outside Allegheny County could vote in it — even in races in which they would be eligible to vote in either location.

The Allegheny County Board of Elections reviews any provisional ballot, he said, but the board has no authority over voters registered elsewhere. State election law does envision circumstances in which voters can use provisional ballots outside their home districts to vote, but those cases involve voting in the same county.

As for students and others who find themselves outside the boundaries of their home counties, Pascal said, "That's what mail-in ballots are for."

Sophomores Ezinne Anyanwu and Chelsea Adinuba registered to vote in Pennsylvania and voted in person for the first time on Tuesday. Both had been hesitant to vote, but they said talking with friends and conversations in classes helped to change their minds.

“One vote could change everything,” Adinuba said.

“Something is going to happen, change is going to happen,” said Anyanwu. “It’s the power of our voices to be able to change something if we don’t like it.”

A judge did not change Pennsylvania's ballot deadline for the 2022 election

Posted November 8, 2022 at 5:45 PM EST
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

A judge in Pennsylvania did not order local officials to count mail ballots received six days after Election Day, contrary to viral misinformation on Twitter claiming so.

No such order adjusting the ballot deadline from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14 has been issued by a judge in Pennsylvania, nor has such a case been brought. The deadline remains 8 p.m. today, for all mail-in and in-person ballots.

A post making the claim Tuesday came from a user named Kyle Becker, whose profile says he is a journalist who has worked for Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News

Read more here.

What to know about the election lawsuits filed so far

Posted November 8, 2022 at 5:03 PM EST

As ballots are cast and tallied across Pennsylvania, important election developments are also happening concurrently in state and federal courts.

Two cases have already affected today’s process. Philadelphia commissioners this morning acquiesced to a GOP lawsuit and agreed to reinstate a time-consuming double-check for double votes, which means the city’s results will take longer.

And in Luzerne County, a judge extended polling place hours until 10 p.m. after a paper shortage dramatically slowed voting in three dozen precincts.

Other lawsuits are still active.

Two different groups have filed suit in federal court, challenging a state Supreme Court ruling that held undated and misdated mail ballots should not be counted in this year’s election. One suit came Monday from U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman’s campaign, as well as the Democratic Congressional and Senate Campaign Committees and individual voters.

Another was filed last week by Pennsylvania’s NAACP, League of Women Voters, and other groups.

Both suits argue the state Supreme Court’s decision violated federal civil rights law — an argument that previously saw success in federal court before the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the decision on procedural grounds.

The U.S. District Court for Pennsylvania’s Western District is holding a joint conference on both cases Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Other challenges have already been knocked down. In Monroe County, the county GOP committee sued late last week to bar election workers from curing flawed ballots — which the state Supreme Court has held that counties are allowed to do — saying that election workers were “tampering” with ballots.

A Monroe County Common Pleas judge held Monday that he did not “find that there was fraud involved or that there was political partisanship undertaken by [county] staff,” and denied the injunction. So far, there has been no appeal.

Allegheny County has scanned more than 130,000 ballots so far

Posted November 8, 2022 at 4:38 PM EST

Workers at the Allegheny County elections warehouse continue to scan ballots. According to a spokesperson, more than 130,000 ballots have been scanned as of 3 p.m.

So far today, 60 voters who originally failed to properly date their ballots were able to "cure" their ballots at the Elections Division. (Vote by mail and want to make sure you're not on that list? Find out more here.)

Election court issues orders at polling places over possible voter intimidation

Posted November 8, 2022 at 4:15 PM EST

While the election is proceeding smoothly by all accounts, the county's elections court has issued a handful of orders regarding concerns at area polling places.

One court order named several individuals purportedly with an entity called "The Commission Security." The order said they were "purporting to be poll security" and required them to "cease and desist from traveling to or entering any polling place in Allegheny County and/or interfering with the operations and functioning of any polling place."

County officials say election workers received a call about individuals claiming to have a contract to provide security and asking voters for information. "Commission" members had apparently departed the scene by the time deputies arrived leaving them with no one to serve the order on. But they advised poll workers in Wilkinsburg to keep an eye out for the group.

The court also ordered a man to stop filming and taking photographs inside a polling location earlier today after election workers observed him doing do. Lawyers from the county cited state statutes and case law establishing that videotaping inside a polling place may be considered voter intimidation.

“A constable told him not to do that but he would not accept that so we ended up sending a sheriff,” said county attorney Dennis Biondo. The man voluntarily left the polling place, which was not immediately identified, after he was served with the order.

Also today, the court issued a cease-and-desist order barring an Upper St. Clair Republican Committee officer from entering any polling place in Allegheny County. The court issued the order in response to reports that the party official instructed poll workers to orally announce who people were voting for as they cast their ballots.

Why mail voting laws may slow the count in Pa.

Posted November 8, 2022 at 3:57 PM EST

In states where voting by mail is on the rise, there's a wonky reason why officials may be slower to report midterm results on election night.

Before mail-in ballots can be counted, they have to go through a process sometimes referred to as "pre-canvassing."

It can include checking voters' signatures on the return envelopes, opening the envelopes, taking out the ballots, flattening and then grouping them into stacks ready for scanning.

These seemingly mundane but critical steps can take hours or days to finish depending on how many people vote by mail. The Bipartisan Policy Center has recommended allotting at least seven days before Election Day for this process.

Read more.

In other Pittsburgh news today...

Posted November 8, 2022 at 3:31 PM EST

We get it, we've been caught up with the election too. So in case you missed it, here are some other top headlines:

Springdale voters will help decide 33rd House District winner

Posted November 8, 2022 at 3:05 PM EST

Along with the other federal and state races on the ballot, voters in the Allegheny River town of Springdale will decide who to send to Harrisburg for the 33rd House District: Democrat Mandy Steele or Republican Ted Tomson II. And voters there had a notable backdrop for making their choice: the shuttered Cheswick Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant that marks the ongoing struggles of the coal industry.

The 33rd House seat is open because a new legislative map drew first-term incumbent Carrie Lewis DelRosso out of the district. (She's now running for lieutenant governor.) But while there is a sharp difference between Steele and Tomson on energy issues — she says there is an opportunity to move beyond fossil fuels while Tomson backs them heavily — it's not clear how engaged voters are. Campaign signs outside Springdale's municipal building polling place vastly outnumbered voters when WESA stopped by. Just one person stood outside, handing out handbills for Tomson.

Several voters declined to be interviewed. Even one who did speak, Crystal Smicik, wasn't keen to talk about policy but said people need to make their voices heard.

“That’s one of the reasons we live in America is for the free vote, right?” she said.

Bill Leahy, too, took a broad view of the election, and said he’s concerned about what rising extremism means for the country.

“We just need to have people that are concerned about our country making sure our country stays a free democracy," he said. "We can have disagreements, but you don’t have to go crazy."

At the center of two election battles

Posted November 8, 2022 at 2:41 PM EST

Just east of Pittsburgh, Swissvale Borough has been on the frontlines of a few different battles this election cycle. When officials redrew the Congressional map after the 2020 Census, it divided the community between the 12th and the 17th Districts. And so when Summer Lee, who is running to replace retiring Congressman Mike Doyle in the 12th District, cast her ballot at the Swissvale Food Pantry around lunchtime, she wasn’t able to vote for her own Congressional bid: She lives a stone’s throw inside the 17th.

“It was disappointing,” she said. “But I was very excited to vote for Chris Deluzio,” the Democrat running against Jeremy Shaffer in that district.

Congressional candidates aren’t required to live in the district, and it’s not unusual for redistricting to force some to hire moving vans. (Lee is also running to hold onto her state House seat for a third term. If she wins her Congressional run, a special election will be necessary to fill her House seat.)

Lee is facing an unusual challenge from a Plum Borough Republican also named Mike Doyle, who is not related to the incumbent Democrat. When asked to compare her bid to that of her opponent, Lee said, "I come with experience, I come with a track record. Our campaign … like my movement since I’ve been legislating for the last four years, has always been rooted in people.”

“We have so much on the line,” she said. “This is not the time to sit out.”

Several voters said they would be glad when this election was over.

Steve Zmigrosky said he was appalled by the money spent on races up and down the ballot, and by the effort by politicians to paint each other “as the cause of evil in the world.”

Zmigrosky is Ukrainian, and said he worries about Republicans who have said that if they win a majority, they may cut off or restrict military aid to the country as it tries to fight off a brutal Russian invasion. And he worried about rights in the United States as well.“

Certainly the economy is an issue, and inflation, but I think those things will [improve] soon,” he said. “The threats to democracy in this country are real and that scares me.”

The room where it happens (in Lehigh County)

Posted November 8, 2022 at 2:18 PM EST
 William Allen senior Liliana Delgado, of Allentown, opens and sorts mail-in ballots Nov. 8, 2022, at Lehigh County Government Center in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.
Matt Smith
For Spotlight PA
William Allen senior Liliana Delgado, of Allentown, opens and sorts mail-in ballots Nov. 8, 2022, at Lehigh County Government Center in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

On a typical Tuesday, Liliana Delgado can be found at William Allen High School where she’s a senior. But today, Delgado was on the bottom floor of the Lehigh County Government Center sorting through ballots.

Delgado was one of the dozens of students who volunteered to become poll workers or ballot counters for the election.

Her job is to take the ballots out of their envelopes. She described seeing each person’s vote in her own hands as “cool.” Alex Sierra, an employee of the Government Center, came to Delgado’s school as a part of an outreach program to get students involved in their election process and local government.

“[Sierra] was talking about when people think about voting, they think about older people,” Delgado said. “But we want them to think about younger people and look to the future.”

Delgado, who will be joining the Marines Corps at the end of her senior year, said the experience has only deepened her interest in the election process.

Working alongside Delgado is Tim Benyo, Lehigh County’s election director. Though the latest directives for mail ballots came just days before Nov. 8, county election directors across the state have been preparing for months, and anticipated changes at the eleventh hour.

“For us, it’s just more work to be last-minute and to have a whole new process added,” said Benyo. “We prepare for months and to have a change at the last minute, it invites errors.”

Just a few weeks before the election, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered election administrators to hold back on counting mail ballots that are undated or misdated and separate them. The high court also issued guidance as to what counted as an incorrectly dated mail ballot only days before the election.

Benyo said the policy changes resulted in more voters coming in to fix ballots errors. This limits the amount of space available for ballot counters to work. Luckily, the county was able to purchase an electronic ballot sorter that cuts down on time.

Voting in Collier Township

Posted November 8, 2022 at 1:58 PM EST

How politics divides these Pittsburgh neighbors

Posted November 8, 2022 at 1:49 PM EST
The political lines are clear on Tropical Avenue in the Beechview neighborhood of Pittsburgh: On one side of the street, all Democratic signs, on the other, all Republican signs.
Oliver Morrison
90.5 WESA
The political lines are clear on Tropical Avenue in the Beechview neighborhood of Pittsburgh: On one side of the street, all Democratic signs, on the other, all Republican signs.

There are few places in Pennsylvania where the divide between Democrats and Republicans this election is more evident than on Tropical Avenue in the Beechview neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

The street is lined with brick houses and well-manicured lawns. In six lawns on one side of the street are signs for Republicans, like Senate candidate Mehmet Oz. And on the other side are all signs for Democrats, such as Oz's opponent, John Fetterman.

According to several neighbors, the war of political signs started with Jim Gaetano in 2016. Gaetano bought the house he grew up in 12 years ago when his parents' health was failing. The neighborhood has always been a Democratic stronghold, he said. But in 2016, he became disenchanted with what he saw as the over-policing of speech from liberals, including criticism of slogans such as “All lives matter” and “Blue lives matter.”

Read the full story.

Swissvale dispatch: Summer Lee votes

Posted November 8, 2022 at 1:20 PM EST

Voting in Brighton Heights

Posted November 8, 2022 at 1:11 PM EST

A slower count expected in Philadelphia

Posted November 8, 2022 at 12:53 PM EST

A last-minute change to Philadelphia’s vote-counting plan means that Pennsylvania’s largest, most heavily Democratic county will take longer than it originally anticipated to finish tabulating ballots.

Philadelphia officials had initially projected that they would be mostly finished counting ballots by Wednesday morning. It was an important prediction. The incorrect idea that a slow vote count means something nefarious is going on is common in right-wing political circles and is frequently used to cast doubt on election results in places like Philly.

But now, some tens of thousands of mail ballots still left to count on Tuesday night will need to be counted more slowly through the week, according to The Inquirer.

That’s not a sign that anything is wrong with the count — just that election workers are conducting an extra, time-consuming check for double votes.

That check is known as poll book reconciliation — a process by which poll workers scan poll book pages into the state’s voter registry to check in-person votes against mail votes. All counties do this eventually, but for the past few years, Philadelphia has been one of the only counties to conduct the check during its initial vote count.

This allowed it to catch double votes that may have slipped through the initial checks that all polling places are required to conduct to make sure nobody votes twice.

Philadelphia’s commissioners had decided to forego that process this year for several reasons. It’s time-consuming, there were no double votes caught by the process in the last three elections, other counties don’t do it, and it involves pausing the count, which commissioners worried could violate a new election law that requires counties to tabulate ballots continuously.

But a conservative group called RITE — Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections — sued the commissioners, arguing poll book reconciliation is necessary. The case went to Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, where a judge ruled that it was too close to the election for the commissioners to change their process, but that they were wrong to get rid of poll book reconciliation. RITE appealed the case to Commonwealth Court.

The morning of Election Day, commissioners backtracked, saying they were reinstating poll book reconciliation because, as GOP City Commissioner Seth Bluestein said, “while we technically won the court case, the decision was written in such a way that we have no choice but to reinstate the process.”

Bluestein added that he wants to “make it very clear” that “when there are conversations that occur later this evening about whether or not Philadelphia has counted all of their ballots, that the reason that some of the ballots will not be counted is that Republican attorneys targeted Philadelphia, and only Philadelphia, and tried to force us to do a procedure that no other county does.”

Shortly after the commissioners announced their decision, RITE issued a statement apparently responding to Bluestein, saying that “if there are delays, only the Commissioners are to blame.”

Troy Hill resident says abortion rights is key issue for election

Posted November 8, 2022 at 12:34 PM EST

The top 4 false or misleading claims being pushed ahead of Pa.’s 2022 election

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:55 AM EST

Since 2020, when former President Donald Trump and his allies began spreading conspiracy theories that the presidential election had been stolen, such falsehoods have become a prevalent feature of U.S. local, state, and national elections.

That’s especially true in swing states like Pennsylvania, and this year’s 2022 midterm election — featuring high-stakes races for governor and U.S. Senate — is no exception.

Sometimes, familiar theories reemerge. Other times, new issues pop up and gain traction.

Read more about four of the prominent false or misleading concerns that are circulating right now.

Allegheny County begins scanning mail-in ballots

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:30 AM EST

County elections officials continue the process of opening, flattening and scanning mail-in and absentee ballots.

More ballots also arrived mid-morning. According to a county spokesman, "There are approximately 1350-1400 ballots in those flats. They will be entered into the SURE system as having been returned and then will start through the review process."

At the county elections warehouse, workers have completed opening the ballots and began scanning them at 10:50 a.m.

Why we won't know who won every Pa. race tonight

Posted November 8, 2022 at 11:07 AM EST

Counties and the Department of State have been warning for weeks that the sheer scale and mechanics of the vote-tallying process may make for a days-long waiting game, WESA's Sam Dunklau reported last week. Experts note that Pennsylvania law limits when counties can start processing mail-in ballots.

“Protracted counting doesn’t mean anything nefarious is happening,” Acting Secretary Leigh Chapman said Monday. “It’s simply a reflection of the vast amount of work county election officials have to do to process and count mail-in and absentee ballots,” adding voters should turn to trusted sources of information at the county and state level if they have questions.

Read more here.

Plum: Voters focused on inflation, GOP's Mike Doyle votes

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:46 AM EST

Voters trickled steadily into Plum Senior High School (“Committed, Integrity, Caring, Relentless”) this morning, in a district where one of the main contests is the fight for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. The retirement of longtime Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle opened a race between Democrat Summer Lee and Republican candidate Mike Doyle (who is no relation to the incumbent). While name confusion between the Doyles has been at play, inflation was the most-mentioned issue for many people as they left with “I voted” stickers on their jackets.

“I’ve lost 20 percent of my 401k,” said Jim Kiser as he and his wife, Cheryl, headed for their car. They’re both retired and say they're being squeezed by inflation.

“We’re trying to be as careful as we can and cut back where we can, but it’s kind of hard to avoid,” agreed Rachel Riley, who brought her oldest child with her to the polls. “We’re trying to feed them healthy foods and not take them out of activities and trying to save for their futures and our futures and it’s just not happening.”

While Riley said she typically votes Republican, she “gave the other side a chance” in the 2020 presidential election. She said she hasn’t seen much good come from that switch, and wants the Republicans to prevail this cycle, “and see if they can make a positive change.”

Doyle himself voted at the school this morning, and was welcomed by a small crowd of supporters hoisting “Doyle for Congress” and “Democrats for Doyle” signs when he arrived .

“Hopefully we’ll prevail and bring some sanity back to Washington,” Doyle said, adding that the response he’s gotten while door knocking and making phone calls has made him optimistic about his chances.

“We’ll see what the majority of this district believes is the right direction for this country and this district,” he said.

Lifelong Greene County resident cites abortion, need for jobs as reasons to vote

Posted November 8, 2022 at 10:32 AM EST

Rosemarie Morehead, a lifelong Greene County resident, said Tuesday morning that her area is sometimes “forgotten.”

Morehead, 54, works at Blueprints, a social services agency that serves 20,000 residents of Greene and Washington Counties as well as West Virginia with 50 programs that address home, financial, and mental health needs. She hopes the redistricting of her state House district helps bring change to the area, which she says needs new jobs and an updated transportation system.

She lives in District 50, which now includes all of Greene County and part of Washington County. Republican candidate and incumbent Bud Cook is facing Democrat Doug Mason.

Through her work in social services, Morehead knows how important bringing new jobs to the area is to decrease the poverty rate.

Morehead, who voted at a polling place in Waynesburg, noted the town’s location off of Interstate 79 as a prime location for an industrial park to bring new jobs to the area.

“We could have used Amazon when nobody wanted it,” Morehead said.

She also said the overturning of Roe v. Wade was an important issue that motivated her to vote because she never thought she’d see it be reversed in her lifetime.

“It’s just unbelievable to me,” Morehead said. “As a woman, I think it’s important for us to vote regardless of what it is.”

Power balance in Congress on ballot for Pennsylvania voters

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:58 AM EST

Three races among Pennsylvania's congressional delegation have taken shape as some of the closer contests in the country this year as voters decide whether to shift majority control in the U.S. House from Democrats to Republicans.

Pennsylvania's delegation has been redistricted twice in recent years — first because of a court challenge and again as a result of the 2020 census — and the state has lost one seat in Congress this year because of its anemic population growth.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright in the Scranton area and Susan Wild in the Lehigh Valley both find themselves in rematches with Republican candidates they narrowly beat two years ago.

The third competitive district, in the suburbs north of Pittsburgh and encompassing all of Beaver County, pits election lawyer Chris Deluzio, a Democrat, against Republican businessperson and former Ross Township Commissioner Jeremy Shaffer, a Republican who lost a 2018 state Senate race.

Shaffer said he would position himself in Congress as “a pragmatic, common sense problem solver” and wants term limits and nonpartisan redistricting policies. Deluzio's campaign biography notes his involvement in the effort to establish a faculty union at the University of Pittsburgh last year.

“The union way of life is a huge thing here in western Pennsylvania," Deluzio campaign manager Matt Koos said. “And there's no doubt that the Dobbs decision has put abortion access at the front of voters' minds.”

Read more.

Turnout, some passions, running high in Pittsburgh's East End

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:22 AM EST

It's still early, but we're hearing anecdotal reports of strong turnout in the East End.

Although voting has proceeded smoothly for the most part, it has not been entirely without incident. Jonathan Cox, a Democratic poll watcher in Squirrel Hill, said a black Volkswagen SUV pulled up at a polling place on Northumberland Street and "started blasting pretty vile hip-hop music. It was pretty clearly trying to intimidate people." Cox said he didn't listen closely enough to the lyrics to discern their message, but that they included frequent obscenities. He said one voter was concerned enough to visit a nearby police substation and an officer told the driver to move because his truck was occupying a spot reserved for equipment at a construction site.

At that point, "The guy got out of the car," Cox said. "He had a Marines T-shirt on and said, 'Do you know what this means?' I fought for this country!' He said something about 'f-ing Democrats.'"

The driver didn't engage with voters at all and left without incident. But Cox said Democrats are "trying to get out the word about this guy," but advised against engaging him directly.

Mike Doyle — the Republican! — arrives at Plum polling place

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:11 AM EST

Election day analysis coming your way from The Confluence

Posted November 8, 2022 at 9:02 AM EST

Tune in to 90.5 FM — or, you know, click that blue "play" button at the top of this site — at 9 a.m. to catch The Confluence with Kevin Gavin. Today's guests include:

  • Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, will discuss the funding sources behind the candidates running in today’s election
  • Nick Field, correspondent for Pennsylvania Capital-Star, will review the latest voter registration numbers and what that means for candidates looking to gain an edge in tight races

The usual, minor polling place problems crop up

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:57 AM EST

A spokesperson for Allegheny County says all polling places are up and running, although a few got late starts: "As is typical for election day, we have received several reports of polling places that opened late because the building was not opened for us and reports of judges not showing to work. All of those issues were resolved before 8 AM with additional workers deployed to those locations with no-shows."

Employees at the county elections warehouse, meanwhile, have finished reviewing declaration envelopes and began extracting secrecy envelopes around 8 a.m.

Representatives from the Fetterman, Kinkead, Mastriano and Oz campaigns, as well as the Republican committee, are on site at the warehouse, monitoring the process.

Inflation, inflation, inflation

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:50 AM EST

Fetterman hits the polls in Braddock

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:43 AM EST

Register to vote by mail, but want to vote in person now?

Posted November 8, 2022 at 8:28 AM EST

If you applied for and received your mail-in ballot, but now you’ve changed your mind and want to vote in person, you’ll need to follow some rules.

  1. Bring your "ballot package" to the polling place. This means your ballot and all envelopes. The ballot comes in an envelope, but it also contains the secrecy and declaration envelope. 
  2. Submit your "ballot package" to the poll workers so it can be "spoiled."
  3. They’ll have you fill out an “Elector’s Declaration to Surrender Their Mail Ballot” form that looks like this.
  4. OK, now you can vote in-person. Democracy in action!

If you don’t bring these materials with you to vote in-person, then you will have to vote provisionally — which just means it’ll take a little longer to count your vote, because they’ll check to make sure you didn’t try to vote twice.

DOJ monitoring 5 Pa. counties

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:51 AM EST

The Department of Justice said Tuesday that they will monitor five Pennsylvania counties to make sure they’re following federal voting rights laws on Election Day.

The DOJ has sent personnel from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to minimize illegal disruptions and violence at polling places in Berks, Centre, Lehigh, Luzerne, and Philadelphia counties.

The department also urges voters to contact local election officials if they witness voter intimidation that could violate election code.

You can report non-violent complaints to the department. Any violence should be reported to local police.

How to report intimidation and discrimination at the polls

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:31 AM EST

What to know about Allegheny County's ballot amendment

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:17 AM EST

Alongside high-profile races for governor and U.S. Senate, Allegheny County voters will consider a referendum question on today's ballot.

A “yes” vote would repeal a rule that requires county council members to resign their positions before running for another office. A “no” vote would keep the rule in place.

Those who support the repeal effort say the change will help keep institutional knowledge in local politics. Those who want the rule to stay in place say campaigns could distract from the candidate’s work on county council.

Read our full breakdown of the resign-to-run rule here.

Polls are now open

Posted November 8, 2022 at 7:06 AM EST

Polling places are now open across Pennsylvania. If you’re in line at 8 p.m., you will still be allowed to vote.

You can find your polling place at the Pennsylvania Department of State website.

Want to do research in advance? Many Pennsylvania counties have already posted sample ballots, which we've linked below (or, if we couldn’t find it, directly to the county’s elections office).

The WESA Voter Guide has info on all the races to represent southwestern Pennsylvania.

At stake in Pennsylvania governor race: Abortion, presidency

Posted November 8, 2022 at 6:49 AM EST

Voters electing a new governor of Pennsylvania will choose between Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano, with the future of abortion rights on the line, as well as management of the 2024 presidential election in a swing state that is often decisive.

Shapiro, the state’s two-term elected attorney general, smashed Pennsylvania’s campaign finance record in a powerhouse campaign in a year in which Democrats nationally faced headwinds, including high inflation.

Mastriano, a retired Army colonel and state senator, is a relative political novice who ran a hard-right campaign and refused for much of it to talk to mainstream news organizations, scuttling prospects for a debate with an independent moderator.

Read the full story.

Voted by mail? Check to make sure you name isn’t on this list

Posted November 8, 2022 at 6:32 AM EST

Allegheny County has posted two lists of voters who failed to properly date their ballots — which means they wouldn’t be counted.

Here's a searchable database of the lists, created by WESA's Oliver Morrison:

If you spot your name, all is not lost. You have two options to make sure your ballot is counted:

  1. Vote provisionally at their regular polling place on Tuesday. Those voters will be given a provisional ballot, which they will need to return to poll workers rather than it being scanned. Such votes are set aside until the county’s Return Board can verify the legitimacy of the ballot, a process that will not begin for several days after Election Day itself.
  2. “Cure” your ballot by visiting the third floor of the County Office Building Downtown (542 Forbes Avenue) today during the voting hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters will be required to present a photo ID in order to cure the ballot.

Two high-stakes federal elections

Posted November 8, 2022 at 6:17 AM EST
Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz shake hands prior to the Nexstar Pennsylvania Senate at WHTM abc27 in Harrisburg, Pa., on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.
Greg Nash
The Hill/Nextstar
Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz shake hands prior to the Nexstar Pennsylvania Senate at WHTM abc27 in Harrisburg, Pa., on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

If the unending cascade of TV advertisements wasn't a giveaway, Pennsylvania is home to several hotly contested races with national implications.

The race between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz could very well determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the U.S. Senate for the remainder of President Joe Biden's first term. The seat is currently held by Republican Pat Toomey, who in October 2020 announced his retirement. If Fetterman wins, Democrats have a better shot of holding the Senate; if Oz wins, expect Republicans to tie up Biden's judicial appointments.

The 17th Congressional district, which consists of Beaver County and a broad swath of Pittsburgh's suburbs in Allegheny County, is another crucial background. It's an open seat because incumbent Democrat Conor Lamb sacrificed a re-election bid for a failed Senate run, after winning re-election by just a couple of percentage points two years ago. Democrat Chris Deluzio faces Republican Jeremy Shaffer; both candidates have platforms broadly consistent with their parties.

Election Day is here

Posted November 8, 2022 at 6:03 AM EST

Morning! Grab a cup of coffee and dig into the WESA Voter Guide for overviews of what's at stake in today's election, as well as profiles of candidates running to represent southwestern Pennsylvania.

A statewide redistricting earlier this year means you may find yourself in new legislative districts at both the state and federal level. Need a reminder of where you should vote? You can find your polling place at the Pennsylvania Department of State website.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. this evening. Voters in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.