Poll watchers will be in place for Election Day
Dozens of lawyers will be stationed throughout Western Pennsylvania on Tuesday to field complaints of election fraud and answer questions about voting rights.
Others,inside a command center at Reed Smith's Downtown offices, will dispatch their mobile counterparts to areas where a need arises. In all, more than 1,000 volunteers will be on call in Pennsylvania, including 60 lawyers and 100 non-lawyers in Allegheny County.
“The bottom line is that we want to make sure that everyone who is registered to vote and can cast a ballot is able to do so,” said Kim Watterson, a partner at Reed Smith who is helping coordinate the effort with lawyers, local nonprofits, the American Civil Liberties Union, Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh and Election Protection, a nationwide nonprofit.
The most common problems in Allegheny County include people leaving campaign literature inside polling locations, faulty voting machines and polling locations that open late, said Sara Rose, a lawyer for the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
“Most things are not done purposefully,” Rose said. “It's more a lack of communication.”
In addition to Election Protection's recruits, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaun E. Sweeney and a team of lawyers at the direction of U.S. Attorney David Hickton will be on duty to handle any problems. Special agents from the FBI will be available to receive allegations of election fraud and other abuses.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have their vote counted,” Hickton said. “The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.”
Concerns about voter fraud appear to be arising earlier than usual this year, likely because of the hotly contested presidential race.
Residents of Florida and Virginia — where polls show President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney neck-and-neck — have received phone calls telling them they can vote by phone. In Florida, some voters are receiving bogus letters — purportedly signed by local election supervisors — questioning their citizenship and eligibility to vote.
In Pennsylvania, the state's new voter ID law could confuse voters or poll workers.
“There was a lot of back and forth, so it might be unclear to people what the law actually is this year,” Rose said.
Voters will be asked for photo ID, but are not required to produce it to vote.
The voter ID law aside, Republican and Democratic leaders praised efforts to ensure the integrity of the election process.
“I like anything that we do that will help more people vote and ensure the people who are voting should be voting,” said Jim Roddey, chairman of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County.
“It's good that there are many avenues to put out any fires that may ignite on Tuesday,” said Nancy Patton Mills, chairwoman of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
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.
- Now a Patriot, Blount thrilled to have moved on from Steelers
- Police say burglars caught in the act in Beechview
- Suspects in attempted Upper St. Clair home invasion held for court on other charges
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Getting fired by Patriots led to Carroll’s reinvention
- Pitt adds Texas wide receiver as 16th commitment to Class of 2015
- Crosby understands rule prohibiting him from playing, stresses he is hurt
- LeBeau won’t join Cardinals coaching staff
- Ex-Steelers QB Batch creates sports medicine startup at Pitt
- NTSB: Better oversight needed to prevent natural gas pipeline accidents
- ‘Let It Snow’ filming in Millvale