“A Court Fight Is Brewing Over A Ballot Slip-Up Affecting 29K Pittsburgh-Area Voters”


Republicans have gone to federal court to make it easier for them to challenge the ballots of nearly 29,000 Pittsburgh-area voters who were caught up in ballot-sending flub in recent weeks.

The court fight stems from a mail vendor screw-up that resulted in 28,879 Allegheny County voters being sent the wrong ballots. Election officials have since sent those voters the correct ballots, and have created a process to prevent those voters from having their votes counted twice if they send both of the ballots back in. 

But two GOP U.S. House candidates filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month arguing the county’s approach to the blunder violates their constitutional rights. They’ve asked the court to order that any ballot cast by the nearly 29,000 affected voters be automatically treated as “challenged” — a designation that could subject the ballot to an onerous process in order to be counted — and that the court waive the $10-per-ballot fee the candidates would usually face to file challenges. …

At a hearing Friday morning, U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan urged Republicans and Allegheny County to work out an agreement over the weekend that would avoid a court fight while the election was underway or right after.

Both sides ultimately said they’d give such a discussion a shot, but Allegheny County lawyer Andrew Szefi stressed that the county officials were already extremely busy managing the current election.


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