PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Voters lined up at the Allegheny County Elections Office on this last day to submit absentee ballot applications for those who will be out of the county next Tuesday, Election Day.
It comes as damage from the hurricane back east threatens absentee and early voting.
“I think it will impact it in some ways. People are more concerned that their vote gets counted, and it will certainly make it more difficult on the East Coast to actually place their ballots,” says Matt Klingensmith of White Oak.
The Klingensmiths and many others actually voted today — something allowed in Pennsylvania if you certify you will be out-of-town on Election Day.
“I had an unexpected business trip for next week, so I wanted to make sure that I came down and had my vote counted,” says Todd McCurdy of Penn Hills.
Making sure votes are counted is one reason Gov. Tom Corbett allowed some counties back east to extend the time to accept absentee ballot applications, but none of the counties out here were included, so Allegheny County Solicitor Andy Szefi went to court to extend deadlines for local voters.
“We brought it to make sure that all the absentee voters who are out of state and potentially affected by the hurricane have their votes counted,” he said.
Attorneys for the county and the Democratic Party argued residents caught back east in the hurricane should have more time to get their absentee ballots filed, but Republican attorney Ron Hicks disagreed.
“It can be fraught with fraud, and when you extend the deadlines, you’re allowing people to disenfranchise other people who are voting in accordance with the law,” says Hicks.
In the end, Judge Joseph James entered a court order to extend the deadline for receipt of absentee ballots.
Instead of the normal deadline of this Friday, absentee ballots will be accepted by Allegheny County until 8 p.m. next Tuesday, Election Day.