HARRISBURG – Presenting how Allegheny County’s Primary Election Day polling place consolidation plan violates both the letter and spirit of the law, members of the Allegheny County Republican House delegation called on Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathryn Boockvar to reverse her approval. The state legislators who signed the letter are Speaker of the House Mike Turzai and Reps. Natalie Mihalek, Jason Ortitay, Bob Brooks, Lori Mizgorski and Mike Puskaric.
Read the letter here
Allegheny County, with more than 1.2 million residents in 130 municipalities, currently has, according to Jerry Tyskiewicz, director, Department of Administrative Services of Allegheny County, “1,323 polling places.”
The county provided no material evidence to justify the reduction in polls below the statutorily allowable 530 polling places.
The county sent its proposal to the Department of State without any type of public input or notification prior. In fact, the first public notice was a May 15 press release.
The county plan disenfranchises voters by creating possible volatile situations due to probable longer waiting lines and people going to normal polling places.
The county provided no evidence that a significant number of poll workers were contacted. In fact, many individuals who have contacted legislative offices were willing and able to staff polling places and were turned away by the county Department of Elections.
The county provided no data to support the safety of its reduction plan; it would, in fact, create a higher risk by concentrating large numbers of people into fewer locations.
The legislators requested the Department of State reverse its approval of Allegheny County’s polling place reduction plan and return it to the standard “1,323 polling places.” At a minimum, the county should be required to open at least 530 polling locations as allowed by statute.
Allegheny County Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives