Western Pennsylvania polls see slow turnout for primaries
By Trib Total Media
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 11:50 a.m.
Poll workers say turnout is light at polling places across Western Pennsylvania as voters choose nominees for various races, including legislative and statewide offices and in the presidential race in the primary election today. But that doesn't mean there haven't been some challenges. Voters are being asked for the first time to show identification at the polls, though ID is not required to vote today. Today's action is to make voters aware of the change in state law that will make photo ID mandatory to vote in November's general election. "I don't have a problem with it," said Gus Kalaris, 80, of Brighton Heights, who runs the famous ice ball cart in West Park. "If you have nothing to hide, what's the problem?" Ardys and Pat Remele, of Brighton Heights, worry it will keep people from voting - "Especially the elderly," Ardys Remele, 73, said. "There are too many older people without IDs," Pat Remele, 77, said. He said it's also "unfair to people on the street. It truly feels unconstitutional." The law provides ways for voters without driver's licenses to obtain photo IDs. Meanwhile, a judge had to settle an issue over signs in the hotly contested state House seat vacated by now-County Controller Chelsa Wagner. Erin Molchany, 34, of Mt. Washington, Shawn Lunny, 26, of Brookline, and Martin Schmotzer, 56, of Whitehall are seeking the Democratic nomination for the 22nd Legislative District. The dispute this morning was over signs that were placed around the district on behalf of Molchany telling voters that ballots cast for Lunny would not be counted. Common Pleas Judge Philip Ignelzi ruled that all the signs should be taken down. The signs were in reference to the state Supreme Court's order earlier this month that removed Lunny as a candidate. Justices said Lunny did not have the required number of valid signatures on his nominating petition. The county did not have time to remove Lunny's name from the voting machines so any votes selecting his name as a candidate won't be counted. However, Lunny said he is running a write-in campaign and people that write his name in on the ballot will be counted as votes. In other election news, at least two people in Arlington had to vote by emergency paper ballot after the judge of election, who had the voting machine, failed to show up this morning in the city's 16th Ward, 5th District, said Mark Wolosik, head of the county elections division. County workers went to the woman's home and eventually a man answered the door. "The man hands them the suitcase (with the voting machine) and said the judge of election was sick - too sick to call in," Wolosik said.
One Downtown polling site wasn't exactly buzzing with voters early on. The Epiphany Church on Washington Place serves the voters of the 3rd Ward.
Out of the 614 voters in this district registered for the primary, only 57 had cast votes by 8 a.m., and election judge Freda Ellis said there had been only five of those were cast at Epiphany Church in the first two hours after it opened.
It also was a quiet morning at the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill. The JCC drew 14th Ward voters from the 35th District through the 40th District.
There was no waiting for the 12 voting machines in the JCC. By 8 a.m., officials already were saying that there was a low voter turnout. Forty-seven of the more than 2,500 registered voters had come out by 9 a.m., only seven of whom were Republicans.
Based on the early turnout, clerk Martin Rubenstein as able to calculate the number of people he believed would show up.
"I estimate we're going to get about 154 voters (out of 630 registered in the 39th District)," he said. Polls will be open until 8 p.m.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg woman accused of assaulting nurse in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- East Hills brawl involves 50 people, nets at least 1 arrest
- Penn State trustee resigns, regrets Paterno vote
- 12 local wrestlers advance to PIAA Class AAA finals
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Donor name to be stripped from Penn Hills library
- Club helps members speak up
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs