Information Articles, Presidential Election

Procedures in place to report voting irregularities on Election Day

 

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, 5:32 p.m.





The U.S. Attorney’s office in Pittsburgh and election and law enforcement officials in Western Allegheny, Armstrong and Westmoreland counties have procedures for citizens to report voting irregularities during Tuesday’s general election.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy will field Election Day complaints for the Western District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney David Hickton said.

Possible violations include someone trying to bribe voters or buy and sell votes, Hickton said. Although people are free to have someone assist them in marking a ballot, it’s illegal for someone to mark a ballot against the wishes of the voter or without the voter’s input, he said.

Someone questioning or challenging people as they enter polling places or photographing or videotaping them under the pretext of trying to uncover illegal voting also may be a violation of federal voting rights law, Hickton said.

People wanting to report voter intimidation or other irregularities at the polls can contact Kennedy on Tuesday at 412-894-7516.

The public also can report possible election violations by calling the FBI at 412-432-4000 or by contacting the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Voting Section at 800-253-3931, emailing tovoting.section@usdoj.gov or filling out an online complaint form atjustice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.

In addition, you can file a complaint with the state Department of State online athttps://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/ReportElectionComplaints.aspxor by calling the voter hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

To contact your county elections bureau about any difficulty or questionable situation at the polling place, go here:http://www.votespa.com/en-us/voting-and-elections/be-prepared/Pages/County-Contact-Information.aspx.

Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen said each polling place in the county will have deputies and election workers whom voters can contact in person with concerns about election law violations. The issues can be addressed immediately or referred to officials sitting in an “elections court” in Downtown Pittsburgh, where a judge can issue an order to address the problem, if necessary.

Mullen said additional deputies will be on patrol and ready to respond to emergencies at the polls.

In Armstrong County, elections director Jennifer Bellas said citizens can report voting irregularities by calling 724-548-3222.

Voters with questions or concerns in Westmoreland County can call the county elections bureau at 724-830-3150, said elections director Beth Lechman.

Depending on the issue, the bureau can dispatch a sheriff’s deputy or constable to the polling place to investigate or intervene, or the case could go to a judge hearing election disputes.

If voters feel there is an imminent threat or danger to their safety at any polling place, they should contact police, election officials said.

Matt Santoni and Brian Bowling are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Santoni at 412-391-0927 or msantoni@tribweb.com. Reach Bowling at bbowling@tribweb.com or 412-325-4301.

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