‘Trump effect:’ Pa. midterms marked by high turnout

Charles Mostoller

Despite rainy weather and some problems with voting equipment, citizens turned out in droves across Pennsylvania to cast their vote in the midterm elections, in what many believe is a sign of hyper-polarization of politics under President Trump.

Whether voters were striving to keep Republicans in power to support Trump or voicing their support for Democrats in opposition, millions of people voted statewide.

Pennsylvania acting Secretary of State Robert Torres said elections were carried out with relatively few incidents – and some of which were caused by the high turn-out, such as a polling location in Bedford County running out of traditional ballots and giving voters photocopies ballots briefly

“Turnout was high, closer to the numbers that we generally see during a presidential election year,” Torres said during a Tuesday evening press conference after polls closed. “The last midterm election, we saw 43 percent turnout. We won’t have the final numbers for a few days, but we expect it to be much higher than that.”

The Pa. Department of State fielded about 3,600 calls from concerned voters during the course of Election Day, mostly routine questions, Torres said.

In Allegheny County, 14 polling places had power outages and voting machines had to switch to battery backup. All but one got power back online; the remaining location got a power generator.

There were bomb threats to three polling locations – in York, Fayette and Lackawanna counties. None of the threats were deemed serious although all were investigated.

Other incidents during election day included an elderly woman being killed as she tried to walk out of her polling place in Forks Township, Northampton County. Marlene Raub, 83, was hit around 10:45 a.m. by a minivan driver, a 78-year-old woman, who remained on the scene and had not yet been charged as of press-time. Raub had just voted and exited the polling place when the collision took place.

In Washington County, Western Pa., Christopher Thomas Queen, 43, of Claysville, was arrested for terroristic threats after allegedly threatening to get a gun and shoot poll workers after they told him he was not registered to vote.

In Philadelphia, DA Larry Krasner’s Election Fraud Task Force received at least 40 calls over the day, about half of them for alleged electioneering, but no other significant issues.

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