This is live coverage of Pennsylvania’s 2022 general election. Check back regularly for updates.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County, appeared before his supporters at his post-election party near Harrisburg and suggested he won’t be conceding until “every vote is counted,” before adding “And then we look forward to celebrating with you.”
According to unofficial PA results published at 12:30 a.m., Democrat Josh Shapiro, of Montgomery County, holds a 55% to 43% lead — almost 538,000 votes — over Mastriano, in a race in which more than 4.75 million ballots have already been counted.
“So we’re going to wait patiently to see what the people Pennsylvania said, and what the people of Pennsylvania say, (and) we’ll, of course, respect that,” Mastriano said.
Dr. Mehmet Oz took the stage at the Newtown Athletic Club in Bucks County with a message of thanks for his supporters. Oz acknowledged that he was trailing PA Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman by a razor-thin margin, but added the race isn’t over by a long shot.
“When all the ballots are counted, we believe we will win this race,” Oz said. “We’ve been closing the gap all night and we have a lot more ballots to go.”
At midnight, Fetterman held a 49% to 48% lead. That equated to about 63,700 votes in a race in which more than 4.75 million ballots were cast.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro bested Trump-backed Republican Doug Mastriano to win the governor’s race in Pennsylvania, according to NBC News, Fox News and USA Today.
Shapiro had been leading Mastriano by significant margins in recent polling.
More Election Live Updates:Texas’ Abbott, PA’s Shapiro win; CO’s Bennet beats GOP rival
Shapiro, the state’s attorney general since 2017, led Mastriano 52%-40% in a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll last week. He is a former state representative who cast himself as someone willing to take the fight to the status quo. Shapiro defended the state’s presidential election results in 2020 against an onslaught of legal challenges.
Mastriano, a state senator and retired Army colonel, marched on the U.S. Capitol in the Jan. 6 attack and was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who visited the state to rally for him. Mastriano supported unfounded claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election and held a hearing featuring Rudy Giuliani and Trump, via call-in, hyping voting irregularities.
— Donovan Slack
In rapid succession, NBC News, Fox News and USA Today called the Pennsylvania governor’s race for Democrat Josh Shapiro. They believe he has bested PA state Senator Doug Mastriano in the closely watched contest to succeed Gov. Tom Wolf.
It has been two hours since the polls closed in Pennsylvania and Democrats have the upper hand the commonwealth’s top-of-the-ticket contests. At 10 p.m. John Fetterman has 53% of the vote to Dr. Mehmet Oz’s 45% in the race to succeed Republican Pat Toomey in the U.S. Senate. Three third party candidates managed to accumulate 2% of the vote, thus far.
As was the case with many elections across Pennsylvania, Oz leads in ballots cast on Election Day, but the mail-in vote has put Fetterman in the lead.
In the gubernatorial race, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, of Montgomery County, has 58% of the vote to state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s 41%. Same story there. Mastriano leads in votes cast on Election Day but Shapiro’s lopsided 6-to-1 margin in mail-in votes has given him the advantage.
— John Anastasi
10 p.m. In Erie, Congressman Mike Kelly leads PA 16th race
Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly is leading Democratic challenger Dan Pastore in the 16th District race.
Kelly, who is hoping to win a seventh term to the U.S. House of Representatives and help the GOP regain control of the chamber, is leading Pastore with 61.7% of the vote, or 50,727 to Pastore’s 31,531.
9:45 p.m. Call him ‘Dr. Fetterman’
In a rousing speech Tuesday night at the Stage AE complex in Pittsburgh, city Mayor Ed Gainey called on supporters of Democrat John Fetterman to refer to the lieutenant governor as “Dr. Fetterman” because he actually “cares about people.”
“We have another person that has ‘doctor’ behind their name that wanted to make fun of people’s medical situation,” Gainey said in reference to Fetterman’s Republican opponent Mehmet Oz.
Gainey further slammed Republicans for embracing election lies and said Democrats “believe in the system.”
9:45 p.m. Sen. Sharif Street warms up the crowd at Shapiro event
Democratic Senator Sharif Street, of Philadelphia, drew a roar of applause as he took the podium at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, where a crowd of more than 400 attendees had already gathered.
“This is going to be a great night for Democrats,” he said. “We respect a woman’s right to choose, and we are going to vote to make sure it happens. A woman’s right to choose is between her and her doctor.”
Before leaving the stage, he offered his gratitude to voters and workers. “We want to thank you for coming together to reject the politics of hate.
— Marion Callahan
9:43 p.m. God praised for Mastriano’s rejection of ‘dictatorial mandates’
Doug Mastriano took the stage around 9:15 at the rally to an uproar of applause from the roughly 300-plus attendees. Mastriano, his Lieutenant Governor candidate Carrie DelRosso and Mastriano’s wife Rebecca came out throwing campaign shirts into the crowd with a song emphasizing faith and God blaring on the speakers.
Charles Stock Senior Pastors at Life Center Church in Harrisburg then came on stage and prayed over the rally. In his prayer he thanked God Mastriano “stood up against the unconstitutional overreach of dictatorial mandates” and asked for great victories.
— Jack Panyard
Supporters of Democrat John Fetterman gathered at the Stage AE entertainment complex in Pittsburgh, where Fetterman is expected to speak later tonight. By 9 p.m., more than 100 people had arrived at the venue amid classic rock hits from a loud speaker and CNN election results blasted onto a giant screen above the stage.
Supporters like Connor Scatte, of Slippery Rock, were hopeful their candidate would be victorious.
“I’m feeling pretty optimistic even if the race isn’t called tonight,” Scatte said. “I just have a really good feeling.”
9:05 p.m. Mastriano and DelRosso now at Harrisburg-area watch party
9:04 p.m. The waiting game begins for Oz supporters at Newtown Athletic Club in Bucks County
The auditorium of the Newtown Athletic Club filled quickly with supporters of Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz after polls closed at 8 Tuesday night. The crowd of about 200 people buzzed around the floor of the Bucks County health club as two large monitors blared Fox News results as early results began to trickle in.
Early results put Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman ahead of Oz by about 223,636 votes just before 9 p.m., but most of the 401,251 votes counted so far were mail-in ballots. Democrats tend to vote by mail in overwhelmingly greater margins than Republicans, and Oz so far had about 62% of the 40,455 Election Day votes tallied early Tuesday night.
Suburban areas like Bucks and Montgomery counties will likely play a key role in the outcome of the race to replace Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
— Chris Ullery
From inside the sprawling Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa., governor candidate Josh Shapiro’s supporters began to arrive, closely eying large screens televising CNN results coming in and posing for pictures beside the podium, where Shapiro is expected to speak later.
Robert Reed, executive deputy attorney general for special initiatives at the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, stood confident early in the evening, though less than 4% were in for the governor’s race.
“It’s finally here,” he said. “As much as I have great trepidation and nervousness about the night, I have great confidence that Josh Shapiro will win. He is a trillion … infinity times better than Mastriano, and I can say that in my private capacity as a voter, and I work with him.”
— Marion Callahan
At the event for gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano in Camp Hill, 300-plus have arrived. Many are wearing party hats. There are photo booths and balloons, and classic hits such as Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” playing over the speakers.
Fox News is being shown on two projectors with election results. Crowd members are talking about high attendance at polls today, generally saying it’s a reaction to how the past few years have been.
Mastriano is rumored to be making an appearance at approximately 9:30 p.m. “American Idol” contestant and Christian music singer Danny Gokey is supposed to perform as well. He was in attendance when Mastriano first announced.
— Jack Panyard
Friday is Veterans Day, a holiday for some. But it will not be a day off for county boards of elections as they must start the official canvass and compute returns, no later than 9 a.m. that day, according to a Pennsylvania Department of State spokesperson.
This multi-day process is when county election boards compile returns from precincts, adjudicate provisional ballots, count military and overseas civilian ballots and conduct post-election testing of equipment and a required 2% statistical sample, the spokesperson said in an email.
— Teresa Boeckel
The Keystone Party:It’s Pa.’s newest political body. Here’s what members are pushing for.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-16th Dist., greeted voters outside the Church of the Cross in Millcreek Township, Erie County.
“This is the first time cost of living has come up,” said Kelly, 74. “And energy has come up. In the past, that was never an issue. Now it’s a big issue. And people are looking at how much it costs to either heat their home or to eat. They’re looking at a winter and hoping that it’s not real cold.
“I represent a district that’s hard working. They’re faith-based, they’re hard working and they understand how life goes. And they don’t take anything for granted. That’s a real privilege.”
— Erie Times-News staff report
An organization is calling out York County as it intends to conduct a limited accountability review of three randomly selected voting precincts in the Nov. 8 election. It is not known which precincts will be selected.
On Election Day, All Voting is Local Pennsylvania state director Nick Pressley issued a statement that said, in part, “York County’s decision to hand count ballots on Thursday caves to conspiracy theorist rhetoric and has the potential to put countless votes in jeopardy.
“Bad faith actors in York County are seeking to actively undermine voters by insisting on a hand count of ballots, which is less accurate and more time consuming than the electronic tabulation that is already in use. This is meant to sow distrust into our elections.”
— Teresa Boeckel
“I would say overall we’ve had a great Election Day in Pennsylvania,” said Khalif Ali, executive director of Common Cause of Pennsylvania, “and we encourage voters to continue to come out and make their voices heard.”
The polls are open until 8 p.m. Voters who have a mail ballot can hand deliver them until 8 p.m. as well.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Common Cause of Pennsylvania had received more than 500 calls from voters asking how to make sure they have a say in the election. Most of the questions were about polling locations, voter registration confirmation and vote by mail, he said.
The organization received a few isolated reports of harassment and electioneering at some polling places, but nothing was coordinated, Ali said. Election officials were quick to address the situation.
He noted it was able to get a court order, forcing Northampton County to provide a replacement ballot to a disabled voter whose mail ballot was cancelled. The voter will be able to cast a ballot with the help of a designated agent.
Polling hours in Luzerne County also have been extended to 10 p.m. because of a paper ballot shortage.
— Teresa Boeckel
About a fifth of Luzerne County’s polling places are experiencing a shortage of paper for printing out ballots after someone has voted on a machine, Council member Tim McGinley said. In response to the issue, a judge on Tuesday ordered the county to keep its voting sites open until 10 p.m.
McGinley, who said he started hearing about the problem at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, said he doesn’t know why the shortage occurred and isn’t sure if any voters had been unable to cast ballots as a result. He said polling places without paper have been instructed to let people cast provisional ballots.
Though officials are working to restock the polling places, it will take “awhile” to reach some sites across the county, one of Pennsylvania’s largest by land area, McGinley said. “I am frustrated and disappointed,” said McGinley, who wants to discuss the problem during a Wednesday night council work session. “Because the goal is to have as many people get out and vote as possible.”
— Bethany Rodgers
4 p.m. What to know about the election lawsuits filed so far
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.
— Spotlight PA
Philadelphia voters who had missing or incorrect dates on their mail-in ballots were being allowed to file replacement ballots at City Hall or vote provisionally at their regular precincts Tuesday.
Hundreds of people whose names were published Friday by the Philadelphia City Commissioners, which is the city’s election board, showed up at City Hall on Monday to correct errors with dates as well as other flagged issues, including missing security envelopes and missing signatures.
It’s unclear how many ballots have been flagged across the state; Philadelphia’s lists contain more than 3,500 names, almost 2,400 of which were cited for missing or incorrect dates. The Philadelphia office stayed open until 7 p.m. Monday, but voters who had gotten in line to correct the issues after 3:45 p.m. were turned away, said Deputy Commissioner Nick Custodio. He said election workers were strongly encouraging those voters to return to City Hall on Tuesday to file a replacement ballot. They can also file a provisional ballot at their polling places, he said. But he said it was important for them to do it early.
— Associated Press
Pennsylvania’s four living former governors on Monday sent a letter to the main party candidates vying for the position on Nov. 8, urging them to respect and accept the results of the election regardless of the outcome.
In their one-page letter to Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano, former Govs. Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker, Ed Rendell, and Tom Corbett said the state’s election process will be “open and transparent,” and “overseen by thousands of Pennsylvanians who care deeply about fairness.”
“We are asking you, as the leaders of the Pennsylvania Republican and Democratic parties, to pledge to honor that process, respect the law, abide the peoples’ will and support a peaceful transfer of power,” the four former governors wrote in the letter, a copy of which was provided to Spotlight PA from a spokesperson for Ridge. “In doing so, you will demonstrate to all Pennsylvania candidates who will be looking to you for leadership that love of Commonwealth and Country must come above all.”
— Angela Couloumbis and Katie Meyer, Spotlight PA
Dave Whyno greeted voters outside the Bristol Township municipal building in Bucks County, a suburb of Philadelphia that political watchers say will be key to Election Day wins for state candidates. He’s a Republican and, at 52, a first time poll watcher. He pulled out his credentials that allow him to observe the Election Day vote count. Trump’s loss to Biden two years ago remains a bitter taste.
“I decided to become a poll watcher because of it. I’m tired of all the (nonsense) from the other side, dragging out the vote count for days,” said Whyno, wearing a black baseball cap inscribed “Let’s Go Brandon.”
“After 2020, I don’t trust the system, so I decided to get involved. This lets me observe the count within 10 feet. I can see pretty good from ten feet. I won’t need my theater glasses for that.”
— JD Mullane
At the Pocono Summit Volunteer Fire Dept. polling place, numerous voters complained about a truck flying “intimidating flags.” A campaign volunteer pointed out the driver to reporters as a deputy constable named “Larry,” noting that his role at the polls that morning was to “keep the peace.”
When asked if he was “Larry,” the man behind the wheel of “America’s Flag Truck” said: “On my life!”
Lawrence “Larry” LoSchiavo Jr. has been Deputy Constable for elections in Pocono Summit for five years, and where the truck goes, he goes.
“I just make sure everything goes ‘according to Hoyle’.” At that moment Larry was interrupted by a poll worker to discuss the presence of his truck.
After the brief discussion, Larry explained his role as Deputy Constable, which entailed monitoring the line and keeping people from getting “violent.”
— Ashley Fontones
Across Pennsylvania, more than 1.4 million people requested to vote by mail. As of Nov. 7, 1.16 million absentee and mail ballots had been returned, according to Department of State data.
Before Election Day, some of the state’s largest counties said it would likely take until Wednesday to finish counting absentee and mail ballots.
Elections director Christa Miller said roughly 25% of those ballots had been opened. As of 10 a.m., approximately 300 voters had dropped off mail ballots Tuesday at the election office as they may do until 8 p.m.
Per an order from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the county is not counting but is setting aside undated and incorrectly dated ballots. Miller did not have an estimate of how many of those ballots the county had received.
— Carter Walker, Votebeat / Spotlight PA and Sarah Anne Hughes, Spotlight PA
In Erie, Angela Leggett said she came out early to vote for women’s rights.
“I voted today because there’s a lot counting on today’s vote,” said Leggett, 48, who voted at Harding School on Erie’s west side. “Especially being a woman. I voted women’s rights, for one thing. They say that today makes a difference. So that’s why I’m out, and I came early.”
— Erie Times-News staff report
Pennsylvania has not experienced any reports of systemic problems with voting machines or polls in the first few hours of voting Tuesday, according to the government watchdog group, Common Cause.
In an Election Day update at 10 a.m., the first of three planned Tuesday, the group’s Pennsylvania Executive Director Khalif Ali reported the organization has received a few calls about late openings at polling places in the eastern part of the state, and a few reports of inoperable machines in a few polling places.
So far, though, all the issues reported were easily resolved, including three incidents in Allegheny County where individuals were too close to polling places and poll workers had to tell them to move within the 10-foot threshold.
Ali said he has not yet heard how many mail-in and absentee ballots in Pennsylvania had been rejected because of missing dates or signatures, which required the voter to either fix the mistakes or cast a provisional ballot in-person.
Common Cause Vice President for Campaigns Jesse Littlewood also reported volunteers monitoring social media platforms were seeing typical early election day misinformation and disinformation being amplified.
“The level of disinformation is concerning, but it’s not at a higher level than in 2020,” Littlewood added.
Among the more popular narratives circulating on Twitter and Facebook surrounded posts involving reports of voting machine problems that were framed to “intentionally undermine people’s faith” in the elections, Littlewood said.
Another common narrative bubbling up around an existing conspiracy theory from the 2020 election is that all results are counted and confirmed on election night, or the election is fraudulent.
— Jo Ciavaglia
Fact check roundup:False claims about election fraud, candidates swirl ahead of 2022 midterms
Dan Pastore, Democratic nominee for U.S. House in the 16th District, is taking on incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-16th Dist.
Pastore, 63, voted with his wife Melissa Pastore just after 8 a.m. at the Weis Library United Methodist Church on the eastern edge of Fairview Township, Erie County.
Outside, afterward, Dan Pastore was confident. “I think our chances are really good,” he said. “We talked to the voters up and down the district. We’re getting support not only from Democrats but moderate Republicans and independents who really are looking for a change. Less divisiveness and more positive attitude. They want someone who will work in a bipartisan way to focus on the issues that are important to the people of western Pennsylvania.”
— Erie Times-News staff report
Bucks County is allowing absentee or mail-in ballot voters to “cure” or fix mistakes, such as a missing date or signature, on their ballot or advising people to vote by provisional ballot. If the county Board of Election finds problems with a mail-in ballot, it will not directly notify voters of the problem, county spokesman James O’Malley said.
Instead, the ballot will be entered as canceled in the state’s tracking website for mail-in ballots. The state system will notify a voter by email about the cancellation, but only if it has an email address on file.
Otherwise, the only option is to cast a provisional ballot at their polling place.
Not all Pennsylvania counties are allowing mail-in voters to fix ballot mistakes. York County election officials are not allowing curing, meaning the only option for those voters is to cast a provisional ballot.
Bucks County sent out 98,506 mail-in and absentee ballots for the 2022 midterms, roughly half the number it sent out for the 2020 presidential race during the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Malley said.
As of last night, 82,789 of those ballots, roughly 82% had been returned, slightly lower than the 85% return rate as of 2020 election eve, O’Malley said.
The mail-in and absentee ballot requests heavily favored registered Democrats with 63,562 compared to 22,847 ballots requested by registered Republicans.
The breakdown of the political affiliations of others requesting mail-in or absentee ballots was: “No Affiliation” (8,565), “No Party” (1,752), Independents (997) and the remaining 783 ballots for voters registered in other parties including “Pizza Party” and “Trump Party,” which each had one ballot request.
— Jo Ciavaglia
After voting in Montgomery County, Dr. Mehmet Oz told reporters he’s proud of the campaign he’s run and that “Pennsylvania is going to send a message to Washington.”
That message is one of balance, not extremism, he said.
After his brief remarks, Oz did not answer questions about whether he would accept election results “no matter what” or offer a reaction to his opponent’s recent federal lawsuit to have mail-in ballots counted regardless of date discrepancies.
— Candy Woodall
York County elections officials said they will not “cure” mail ballots that were not properly signed and dated. Instead, the county will designate those ballots as “canceled” on Election Day, a status that will be visible to voters if they check their ballot on the state’s tracking website. Someone who sees their ballot is canceled can then head to a polling place and vote provisionally, said President Commissioner Julie Wheeler.
Wheeler said York County has been separating out undated ballots all along, so they won’t have to go back through in response to a court order.
That drew fire from York County Democratic Chair Chad Baker, who urged the immediate release of data pertaining to rejected mail ballots by the county.
Baker called that a partisan decision by the Republican majority board of commissioners. “The commissioners have decided to not input rejected ballots into the state system starting at 7 a.m. on Election Day,” said Baker in a news release. “This means that those voting by mail, predominantly Democratic voters, will not be contacted until Election Day that their ballots have been rejected, and that is only true if their email address is on file with the county. If there is no email address, the voter will not be contacted.”
Baker said the only alternative for voting at that point would be to go to the polls and vote with a provisional ballot.
“Given that many voters vote by mail due to work conflicts, health issues, etc., these voters will most likely have their votes suppressed and will be denied their right to vote,” said Baker. “This data must be entered immediately so that voters in York County have an opportunity to cast their votes and be assured they will be counted.”
Some of Pennsylvania’s largest counties scrambled Monday to help voters fix mail-in ballots that have fatal flaws such as incorrect dates or missing signatures on the envelopes used to send them in, bringing about confusion and legal challenges in the battleground state on the eve of the election.
Elections officials in Philadelphia and Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, announced measures they were taking in response to state Supreme Court rulings in recent days that said mail-in ballots may not be counted if they lack accurate handwritten dates on the exterior envelopes.
Ahead of Tuesday’s midterms, more than a million mail-in and absentee ballots have already been returned in Pennsylvania, with Democrats far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail. The numbers are large enough that they might matter in a close race, such as the contest between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz that could determine majority control of the U.S. Senate.
The Department of State said it was unclear just how many ballots are at issue across the state. The agency over the weekend asked counties to provide the numbers, broken down by political party. Officials said some counties were not letting voters fix their mistakes.
Lines formed at City Hall in downtown Philadelphia on Monday and over the weekend with voters waiting to correct their ballots. Some people on social media said the office did not get to everyone Monday.
The Pennsylvania litigation was filed by Republican groups and is among legal efforts by both political parties in multiple states to have courts sort out disputes over voting rules and procedures ahead of the midterm election.
A new federal lawsuit over the envelope dates was filed Monday in Pittsburgh federal court by the national congressional and senatorial Democratic campaign organizations, two Democratic voters and Fetterman’s U.S. Senate campaign. They sued county boards of election across the state, arguing that throwing out ballots that lack proper envelope dates would violate a provision in the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act that says people can’t be kept from voting based on what the lawsuit calls “needless technical requirements.”
A separate federal lawsuit filed Friday makes a similar argument.
— Associated Press
PA heads to the polls to decide Senate, governor races
It’s Election Day in Pennsylvania, and the nation is closely watching the commonwealth as it could decide the balance of power in Washington.
The U.S. Senate race between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz may decide whether Democrats maintain their slim majority or the upper chamber flips to Republicans, all but grinding President Joe Biden’s agenda to a halt if the House of Representatives turns back to the GOP as expected.
Fetterman’s lead over Oz has narrowed in recent weeks and the race is now considered a toss-up by the Cook Political Report and other analysts.
Pennsylvania can expect changes no matter who wins. Both candidates have said they would move the commonwealth in a different direction from Wolf, though in different ways.
Mastriano, a Trump loyalist who attended the Jan. 6, 2021 rally at the U.S. Capitol before it devolved into a riot, has signed onto dozens of bills vetoed by Wolf since joining the General Assembly in 2020. His governorship would likely give the green light to many or all of these measures, which include restrictions on trans athletes in sports, more lenient gun laws and the expansion of poll watching.
Shapiro has broken with Wolf in expressing support in concept for the kind of Lifeline Scholarship Program advanced by Republican lawmakers. This program would give tax dollars to families in low-performing districts to help their children attend private schools.
Shapiro is also calling for a $250-per-vehicle gas tax rebate for car owners and more aggressive tax cuts, including an accelerated plan to reduce corporate net income tax and the elimination of “nuisance” fees such as the commonwealth’s cellphone tax.
But don’t expect election results Tuesday night — or, possibly, for several days. That’s largely because of the new mail-in ballot law prohibiting officials from counting them before Election Day, making it a challenge for those officials while also sowing confusion among the public.
Pennsylvania’s importance this cycle was illustrated over the weekend as Biden and former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump visited to make closing arguments for their preferred candidates.
What you need to know about voting today
Pennsylvania’s general election is being held today. Voters will be choosing candidates for top seats in the state, including U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and lieutenant governor, as well as the state General Assembly.
Here’s what you need to know:
Polls: They will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. statewide. Many counties also offer drop boxes where voters can take their completed mail-in ballots. You can also return your mail ballots to the elections office in your county. Check your county website for locations and times.
Where do you vote? The state has a website that helps voters find their polling place. Begin by typing the county of residence and city in the dropdown menus. Then enter the street name, the house number and ZIP code.
How to check on results
To see the unofficial results on election night, go to: www.electionreturns.pa.gov
What if I didn’t get my mail ballot?
Individuals who didn’t receive their mail ballot, lost it or now want to vote in person can head to the polls.
If voters have their mail ballot packet, they need to take it with them to have it voided. They also will have to sign a declaration.
Those without a mail ballot packet will have to vote with a provisional ballot.
Election officials will be checking to see if the mail ballot was returned. If the mail ballot is confirmed, that is the one that will count.
— Teresa Boeckel
How to return your mail ballot
Voters who have not returned their no-excuse mail ballot or absentee ballot should drop it off in person at this point. It is too late to drop it in the mail because the local elections office must receive it by no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day. Postmarks do not count. Voters must return their own ballot.
To see if your ballot was received, visit www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/pages/ballottracking.aspx
— Teresa Boeckel
How to make sure your ballot counts
The state Supreme Court recently ordered that mail-in and absentee ballots that arrive without a date or are incorrectly dated should not be counted. Mail ballot envelopes must be dated between Sept. 19 and Nov. 8, and absentee ones must be dated between Aug. 30 and Nov. 8.
To make sure your vote counts, follow the instructions provided. After filling out the ballot, place it in the secrecy envelope marked “Official Election Ballot” and seal it. Do not make any marks on the envelope.
The secrecy envelope then goes inside the pre-addressed outer return envelope. The voters declaration on the back must be signed and dated. Seal this envelope, too.
Voters who already returned a mail ballot and are concerned that it might be cancelled because of an error should contact their local elections office or the state’s voter hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.
“If you learn that your mail ballot did contain a technical error and the county will not allow you to fix it, then you should go to your polling place on Election Day and ask for a provisional ballot,” Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman said Monday during a news conference.
Voters also can track their ballot to see if it has been accepted or rejected. Go to www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/pages/ballottracking.aspx
If it has been rejected, voters can head to the polls and cast a provisional ballot.
— Teresa Boeckel
Know your voting rights
Can I drop off a completed mail-in ballot at my polling place? No.
Can I take a selfie in the voting booth? Pennsylvania allows people to take selfies in the voting booth, and photos both inside and outside your polling place, but the state strongly discourages photos of other people voting, according to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. It is also recommended that you wait until you’ve left a polling place before posting photos on social media.
Do I need to show ID at my polling place? Only if you are voting for the first time at a new polling place. Otherwise, voters are not required to show identification. There have been efforts by state Republicans to require Pennsylvania voters to show ID every time they vote, but no changes have been made to the state’s election law.
What do I do if someone tries to challenge my right to vote? The only people allowed to challenge a voter’s qualifications to vote are poll workers and poll watchers, who must direct any good-faith challenges to an elector’s “identity, continued residence in the election district, or qualifications as an eligible voter” to the judge of elections only, not the voter. The decision ultimately rests with the judge of elections. But, in most cases, a voter would be provided a provisional ballot and permitted to vote. Election workers would later determine if the voter is indeed registered to vote and, depending on their decision, either include or exclude the ballot in the official count. Poll workers include inspectors, clerks and election judges. Poll watchers are people appointed by a candidate or political party to observe the voting process. Poll watchers cannot, however, engage or intimidate a voter, especially in an effort to influence how they vote. Poll watchers are not permitted near the space where a voter casts their ballot. If you are the victim of or witness any type of voter intimidation, report it immediately to the Board of Elections or the district attorney.
What is considered voter intimidation or discriminatory conduct? The Secretary of State’s Office lists the following:
- Aggressive or threatening behavior inside or outside the polling place.
- Blocking or interfering with access to the entrance or exit to the polling place; accessible accommodations for voters with disabilities; voter sign-in tables or voting booths/voting machines.
- Direct confrontation or questioning of voters, including asking voters for documentation or proof of eligibility, when none is required.
- Disrupting voting lines inside or outside of the polling place.
- Disseminating false or misleading election information, including information on voting eligibility, polling place procedures, polling place hours or voting methods.
- Election workers treating a voter differently in any way based on race, ethnicity, national origin, language, disability or religion.
- Aggressive or threatening brandishing of weapons.
- Photographing or videotaping voters to intimidate them.
- Posting signs in the polling place to intimidate voters or drive support for a candidate.
- Routine and frivolous challenges to voter’s eligibility by election workers or private citizens that are made without a stated good-faith basis.
- Questioning voters about citizenship, criminal record or political choices.
- Using raised voices, screaming, yelling or shouting; use of insulting, offensive or threatening language; chanting taunts, or threatening songs inside the polling place.
- Vandalism of polling places or polling place equipment/materials.
- Verbal or physical confrontation of voters by persons dressed in official-looking uniforms.
- Falsely representing oneself as an election official or law enforcement authority.
- Violence or using the threat of violence to interfere with a person’s right to vote.
- Interfering with or violating a voter’s right to a secret ballot at any point in the process.
— Matt Rink
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