Westmoreland County voter turnout hit 44% in special election
Westmoreland County voter turnout in Tuesday's special election for the 18th Congressional District reached 44 percent, election officials said.
Nearly 72,000 ballots were cast in the county, according to unofficial results released Wednesday by the elections bureau.
County officials predicted turnout would be about 30 percent for the special election in which it appears that Democrat Conor Lamb won a narrow victory over Republican Rick Saccone to complete the final months of the term of former Rep. Tim Murphy. The Republican from Upper St. Clair resigned from office last year amid a marital scandal; he was accused of suggesting to a girlfriend she have an abortion.
Voter turnout for the 2016 presidential election in Westmoreland County was 75 percent. Turnout in 2014, a midterm election year in which state voters also elected a new governor, was 45 percent in Westmoreland County.
As a national audience watched results from all or parts of four counties in District 18 — Westmoreland, Allegheny, Washington and Greene — results slowed to a trickle by 11 p.m.
Results from 191 of 193 voting precincts in Westmoreland County arrived at the courthouse for processing shortly after 10 p.m. and were posted to the website within minutes. Results from the final two precincts, North Ligonier and Latrobe's 2nd Ward, didn't arrive until about 11:30 p.m., elections bureau Director Beth Lechman said.
Lechman said Wednesday that the county, as it routinely does, waited to post a report of the final results that included the last two precincts until all of the county's 1,800 absentee ballots were processed and counted.
Those results were posted online at 11:57 p.m.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.