State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

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Storm knocks out power, backup batteries at Harrisburg polling place

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 15, 2018 9:08 PM

A storm caused some trouble at a Dauphin County polling place Tuesday. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- A bad thunderstorm late Tuesday afternoon made voting a little more difficult at one midstate polling place.

First, the power went out -- then the backup batteries on the voting machines died.

As the torrential rain slowed to a drizzle, and then stopped, the lights in the voting area at North Side Elementary School stayed off.

Dauphin County Republican Committee member Toni Gilhooley was at the polling place, and said GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner had just finished up a visit to the when the storm hit.

"We had to run inside because the wind was so strong it almost blew us away," she said.

With the power out and the machines down, elections officers called Dauphin County Elections Director Jerry Feaser.

He said a couple other polling places in the country saw outages too, but the backups on their machines worked at planned.

This one, he said, was unusual.

"It's curious. I don't know if there might have been a lightning strike nearby that maybe hit a power surge on these or something," he said.

Feaser ultimately had to drive over, flashlight and batteries in tow, to fix the machines in the dark.

In the roughly half hour they were out, he says voters were able to cast emergency paper ballots.

Only one actually did. A few others opted to come back later.

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