State House Sound Bites

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

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Election workers report being busier than usual ahead of midterms

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 5, 2018 6:14 PM

Pennsylvania is expected to play a key role in national elections this year--particularly when it comes to Democrats potentially taking control of the US House of Representatives. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- Turnout in Tuesday's midterm election is expected to be unusually high.

Based on early indicators, some election officials have said they're prepared for returns that fall between a normal midterm year and a presidential election.

Pennsylvania doesn't have early voting, so the best way officials can get a sense of turnout is by looking at absentee ballot returns.

Randall Wenger, who directs Lancaster County's elections, said they've seen substantially more absentee ballots voted than were even requested in the 2010 and 2014 midterms--and processing those and new voter registrations took more work than he expected.

"My staff worked a lot of extra overtime. We called upon two temp agencies for additional staff," he said.

He noted, "That's flexibility we have, and we didn't utilize it as much as we would in a presidential election year. But we did utilize more of it than we thought we would."

The situation is similar all over. Small, rural Fulton County gets comparatively fewer voters, but Election Director Karen Hann-McFadden said it's still busier than usual this year.

She said significantly more voters have registered than in other midterm years, and 169 absentee ballots have been returned--up from 82 in 2014.

Pennsylvania's governor and Democratic US Senator are both running for reelection this year. There's also a slate of competitive congressional races, plus close state House and Senate contests.

Democrats are banking on significant gains across the board.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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