PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Congressional candidates Sean Parnell and Luke Negron have filed a lawsuit seeking to allow poll watchers at the satellite election offices in Allegheny County.
According to the lawsuit, Parnell and Negron say poll watchers should be at the satellite election offices just as they would be at polling places on Election Day. They say one way to “ensure the integrity of this year’s election is upheld” at the election offices is by having poll watchers.
Last month, the Allegheny County Board of Elections approved the opening of additional election offices.
“Allowing poll watchers at traditional polling locations, but not allowing poll watchers at the satellite offices constitutes disparate treatment,” the lawsuit states.
“You’re supposed to follow the state election code. That’s not being done here. Watchers certificates are necessary to bring transparency back into this situation,” said Thomas W. King III, the attorney for the plaintiffs.
Parnell and Negron’s attorney cites Allegheny County having to reissue corrected ballots to voters after nearly 30,000 received incorrect ballots.
The lawsuit names Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, County Council members Bethany Hallam and Sam DeMarco, as well as the Allegheny County Board of Elections, as defendants. According to the county’s website, satellite election offices allow voters to apply for a mail-in ballot or absentee ballot, receive, fill out and submit it.
“The satellite election offices are exactly what they say they are — satellite election offices. They are not polls,” said Hallam.
“People are submitting mail-in ballots at these locations, to be transported to the elections division warehouse. The votes are not cast until Election Day,” she added.
The lawsuit argues that people are casting their votes and alleges the county denied certificates to two potential poll watchers who wanted inside of two satellite offices.
“The only thing they do in those offices is vote,” said King III. “What we want to know is who’s coming into the offices?”
Parnell is a candidate for the 17th Congressional District, while Negron is a candidate for the 18th Congressional District.
A spokesperson for Allegheny County said the county has no comment.