First responders' ballots could delay Pa. count
Hundreds of Pennsylvania ballots might not be counted until next week because emergency first responders assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York, New Jersey and other locations were given extra time to vote in the presidential election.
Matthew Keeler, a spokesman for the Department of State, said Monday he did not expect more than 1,000 first responders to obtain emergency absentee ballots by yesterday's deadline.
Gov. Tom Corbett late last week signed an executive order that allowed emergency first responders who were assigned duties outside of their home counties to apply to vote through absentee ballots.
The regular deadline to apply for absentee ballots had expired on Oct. 30.
Keeler said state officials won't have an accurate count of the number of emergency ballots issued until Tuesday morning.
“We are trying to do what we can to allow these people to vote,” Keeler said.
The responders had until 5 p.m. Monday to obtain applications and have their ballots postmarked. Those ballots have to be received in the voter's home county by Nov. 13. They will be segregated and counted next week.
More than 40 voters — officers of Pennsylvania State Police and utility workers — sought absentee ballots from Westmoreland County on Monday.
“The day before the election is always hectic. With this extra work, it's been busier today,” said Jim Montini, director of the Westmoreland Election Bureau.
Fayette County officials reported 17 emergency absentee ballots were issued.
“It's a new wrinkle and it turned into a last-minute ordeal,” Larry Blosser, director of the Fayette County Election Bureau, said.
Emergency responders eligible for the late absentee ballots were identified by the governor as qualified Pennsylvania electors “whose absence from their county of residence on Election Day is required by order of their employer or other organization and is directly related to efforts of the elector's employer or other organization with which the elector is associated to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.”
Blosser said the majority of requests came from county residents, employed by FirstEnergy, who were assisting with the widespread power outages resulting from last week's storm.
FirstEnergy's electric utilities include West Penn Power and Penn Power in Pennsylvania.
Employees were urged to seek absentee ballots by the original deadline because company officials feared their duties might pull them away from home on Election Day.
“What we did, before the storm was coming, we did some internal communication with our employees,” FirstEnergy spokesman Todd Schneider said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.She can be reached at 724-836-5401 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.
- Hurricanes owner rips Rutherford, Penguins
- Rossi: Wild Wednesday proves Steelers rule
- Starkey: Rutherford hits jackpot with Kessel
- New Kensington residents rally in support of 82-year-old robbery victim
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal
- Indiana Twp. boy gets long-awaited liver transplant
- Writings attributed to jailed Plum teacher dubbed evocative of stalker
- Pitt offensive tackle Jones-Smith to miss season
- Beaver County woman finds man crouching in her bathroom, stabs him with sword
- Penguins get their man in making trade with Toronto for Kessel
- 2B Walker, Pirates smash through Tigers pitching in road victory