Lucy Perkins


Lucy Perkins is a reporter/producer for 90.5 WESA’s Government and Accountability team. Before joining the 90.5 WESA newsroom, Lucy was an NPR producer in Washington, D.C., working on news programs like All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. She also helped produce the Hidden Brain podcast and NPR’s 2016 election night special coverage. Lucy joined NPR as a Kroc fellow after interning with Michigan Radio. Lucy is a proud Midwesterner, from the tip of Michigan’s pinky finger.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

The 2020 general election results were made official in Allegheny County on Monday morning when the Board of Elections voted to certify the results -- even though a court order hours later will require the board to adjust its total.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Election workers in Allegheny County will be able to count 2,349 mail-in ballots that were received by Election Day but weren't dated by voters, according to a new court ruling Wednesday. The decision, and a companion ruling about other ballots called into question, could decide the outcome of a hotly contested state Senate race. Republicans filed an appeal later in the day.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

An Allegheny County judge heard arguments Tuesday morning about whether 2,349 mail-in ballots that came in by Election Day should be counted, even though voters forgot to write down the date themselves before returning the ballots.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Western Pennsylvania Republican Guy Reschenthaler alleged on conservative media this week that “voter fraud here is constantly an issue” in Pennsylvania, though some of his claims fly in the face of what is known about the 2020 election.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

While legal fights over election results and vote counting loom large in many swing states that handed President-elect Joe Biden his victory, Allegheny County has largely avoided controversy — even as it prepares for new vote-counting challenges in the coming days.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County won't start tabulating its last 35,000 ballots until tomorrow, including up to 29,000 from voters who originally got the wrong ballot. And although beginning that work Friday has been the plan for nearly a month now – a plan backed up by a federal court order – the brief hiatus in counting somehow managed to throw an already contentious election into even deeper chaos.

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Andrew Harnik / AP

With Election Day less than a day away, former Vice President Joe Biden visited western Pennsylvania to make his final pitch to voters. After speaking in Cleveland earlier in the day Monday, Biden kicked-off a three-stop swing through the region with a mid-afternoon speech in Beaver County.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Black voting rights activists in western Pennsylvania have assembled a support team to address instances of voter intimidation at the polls on Tuesday, though it's unclear if those worries will be realized.

Keith Srakocic | AP (left) / Krist Gnibus campaign (right)

One of President Donald Trump's staunchest supporters is U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, who has represented northwest Pennsylvania for the decade. This year, he’s being challenged by first-time candidate Democrat Kristy Gnibus.

Matt Slocum / AP

Pennsylvania’s top election official said Wednesday that voters who have not returned their mail-in ballots yet should now drop them off in person.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 


Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Elections Division announced Wednesday that the company in charge of printing and mailing ballots sent the wrong ballots to 28,879 voters, citing an error by the vendor in charge of printing and mailing the ballots. 

This summer, Pittsburgh resident Jane Hartung heard that the elections division needed help. Poll workers are typically older, and thus more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Since she's 31, healthy and has a flexible work schedule, Hartung volunteered to help. She went through training in late September.

"It was a lot of information," she said. "Being somebody who was really into school when I was a kid, I brought my pen, and was taking down notes – lots and lots of notes."

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Voter registration in Pennsylvania has likely set records, election officials said Wednesday, and requests for mail-in ballots ahead of the general election have already exceeded total mail-in voting in the primary. The state also announced plans to counteract efforts to claim victory on Election Night before the mail-in ballots are counted.

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Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The U.S. Supreme Court has been thrust into the political spotlight, following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For our Split Ticket series, we’re following four Western Pennsylvania voters for one year, and looking at how issues like the Supreme Court influence their choices. With just a month until the general election, the fight over Ginsburg’s replacement underscores the tensions of a divisive election year.

Courtesy of Mercuri and Skopov campaigns

For the last 20 years, the North Hills suburbs were represented in the state House by conservative champion Mike Turzai. Now that the former House speaker has resigned, there’s a chance for a major shift in representation for a district where demographics are already changing.

Carrie Antlfinger / AP

To accommodate an enormous influx of mail ballots in a highly contested presidential election year, the Allegheny County Board of Elections voted unanimously Thursday to expand voting options, and officials updated the public on other plans to expand the county's ability to count ballots in November.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

In a public letter published last week, four former PublicSource journalists described alleged mistreatment while they worked at the Pittsburgh news organization. 

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

For years, the Democratic Party has struggled to retain support from Catholic voters in southwestern Pennsylvania, and it will likely be hard for Democrats to reverse that trend in November – even with a ticket led by a Catholic presidential nominee.  

Keith Srakocic / AP

In a county where the local unemployment rate is twice the national average, Vice President Mike Pence touted the Trump administration's economic record before the pandemic at a Workers for Trump rally on Wednesday.


In his first visit to Pittsburgh since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden asked a simple question: “Do you feel safe in Donald Trump’s America?” While Biden denounced the violence that has marked some protests nationwide this summer, he also blamed President Donald Trump for fomenting, and seeking political advantage from, crises afflicting the country.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Usually, college campuses are fertile ground for voter registration groups, teeming with young people who have never voted before. But as colleges and universities bring students back during the pandemic, activists have found themselves trying to navigate COVID-19 protocols just a few months before the 2020 election.

Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Gun sales and gun violence have increased during the coronavirus pandemic, but the issue has been largely absent from the 2020 campaign. For WESA’s Split Ticket series, we’re following four Western Pennsylvania voters for a year, asking them about the issues that could sway their decision at the ballot box.

This month, they weighed in on firearms. But while they shared common ground on some changes to gun laws, the gun debate is still divisive.

Matt Rourke / AP

Allegheny County started sending applications for mail-in ballots to every registered voter in the county this week. Officials recommend applying for the ballot as soon as you get your application, and filling out and returning mail ballots well before Election Day.