Live blog: Election Day 2020

By The Pitt News Staff

Voters are heading to the polls Tuesday to decide the next president, as well as a number of other federal, state and local officials. Stay with The Pitt News for updates throughout Election Day, and results beginning at 8 p.m.

Pennsylvania certifies Joe Biden as winner of commonwealth’s presidential vote // Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Pennsylvania officials certified Joe Biden, the former Democratic vice president, on Tuesday as the winner of the commonwealth’s 20 votes in the Electoral College. Biden won about 3.46 million votes to President Donald Trump’s 3.38 million votes, a lead of about 82,000 votes or 1.2%. The Keystone State put Biden over the 270 electoral votes needed to become the 46th president, and led The Associated Press and other major media outlets to declare him the winner four days after the election.

Allegheny County Return Board concludes third day // Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Allegheny County’s Return Board concluded its third day of handling ballots that require special care Monday evening. The roughly 80-member panel of election workers is tasked with processing the tens of thousands of ballots that require extra attention — mail-in ballots that were damaged or otherwise could not be scanned by machines, ballots cast by those overseas or actively serving in the military, as well as the 29,000 ballots mailed to incorrect voters due to a contractor error.

County spokesperson Amie Downs said staff sorted through all of the approximately 6,500 ballots that had various issues to be resolved, with approximately 500 being researched further. The board plans to return to work Tuesday morning.

After all other types of ballots are tallied, provisional ballots are then processed and added to the vote count. These ballots are given to voters at in-person polling places when a voter’s eligibility must be resolved before the vote can count.

‘A road to recovery’: Pitt students reflect on Biden victory // Ashton Crawley, Assistant News Editor

Meera Tikku and Shruthi Sethuraman found out the results of the presidential election in true 2020 fashion — while scrolling through TikTok.

“Someone had sent a message that they had announced him as the winner and I was like, ‘Yo, I think Biden won!” Tikku, a senior communications major, said.

Read more here: https://pittnews.com/article/161967/news/a-road-to-recovery-pitt-students-reflect-on-biden-victory/.

Pittsburghers take to streets to celebrate Biden victory // Rebecca Johnson, Jon Moss and Mary Rose O’Donnell

Pittsburghers danced and marched in the streets in the City’s South Side neighborhood mid-day Saturday after the 2020 presidential election was called for former vice president Joe Biden.

Read more here: https://pittnews.com/article/161960/top-stories/pittsburghers-take-to-streets-to-celebrate-biden-victory/.

Allegheny County Return Board concludes second day // Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Allegheny County’s Return Board concluded its second day of handling ballots that require special care Saturday afternoon. The roughly 80-member panel of election workers is tasked with processing the tens of thousands of ballots that require extra attention — mail-in ballots that were damaged or otherwise could not be scanned by machines, ballots cast by those overseas or actively serving in the military, as well as the 29,000 ballots mailed to incorrect voters due to a contractor error.

The Return Board processed 7,253 ballots on Saturday, clearing more of the 29,000 ballots requiring remediation. The board plans to return to work Monday morning, following “additional administrative work and research” on remaining ballots by elections workers.

After all other types of ballots are tallied, provisional ballots are then processed and added to the vote count. These ballots are given to voters at in-person polling places when a voter’s eligibility must be resolved before the vote can count.

Joe Biden elected president of the United States // Mary Rose O’Donnell, Managing Editor

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been elected president of the United States, according to The Associated Press. Biden surpassed 270 electoral votes after winning Pennsylvania Saturday morning.

Read more here: https://pittnews.com/article/161954/featured/joe-biden-elected-46th-president-in-historic-election/

Allegheny County Return Board concludes first day // Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Allegheny County’s Return Board concluded its first day of handling ballots that require special care late Friday evening. The roughly 80-member panel of election workers is tasked with processing the tens of thousands of ballots that require extra attention — mail-in ballots that were damaged or otherwise could not be scanned by machines, ballots cast by those overseas or actively serving in the military, as well as the 29,000 ballots mailed to incorrect voters due to a contractor error.

The Return Board processed 17,845 ballots on Friday, clearing out all damaged ballots, the set of overseas and military ballots currently in hand, as well as part of the 29,000 ballots requiring remediation. The board plans to return to work Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

Rich Fitzgerald, the Allegheny County executive, provided updates himself about the Return Board’s count in three chunks on Friday evening. His short press conferences about each batch of votes was carried live on national television by CNN.

After all other types of ballots are tallied, provisional ballots are then processed and added to the vote count. These ballots are given to voters at in-person polling places when a voter’s eligibility must be resolved before the vote can count.

Secretary of State gives update on ballot count; Pennsylvania still too early to call // Rebecca Johson, News Editor

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said at a Thursday evening press conference that counties across the state are continuing to count “several hundred thousand” ballots and more concrete results will partly depend on how close the election is.

“What’s happening now is having enough ballots counted to actually see who the winner is,” Boockvar said. “The farther apart that is, the easier is to tell. It’s very close in Pennsylvania… that means it’s going to take longer to see who the winner is.”

Boockvar also said the number of mail-in ballots the state received after Election Day is “significantly lower” than what the state originally thought. She said it’s a fraction of what the state received following the primary elections, but she doesn’t have an exact number.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled in mid-September that due to documented delays with the United States Postal Service, county boards of elections could be legally permitted to count ballots postmarked on or by Election Day on Tuesday, and received after Tuesday at 8 p.m. and before Friday at 5 p.m.

Absentee and mail ballots received after the polls closed Tuesday are separated from those received earlier to allow for court challenges.

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign asked the Supreme Court to allow it to join a lawsuit pending before the court which challenges the constitutionality of the extended mail-in ballot deadline.

Boockvar added that the integrity of mail-in ballots is “unparalleled” and she is not aware of any recent instances of voter fraud.

“Though it’s new under Act 77 that we can all vote by mail, it’s the same processes that we’ve used for decades for absentee voting,” Boockvar said. “The strength of the integrity of this vote is really unparalleled, same as when you vote in person.”

Allegheny County gives update on ballot processing  // Martha Layne, Assistant News Editor

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Solicitor Andy Szefi and Elections Manager Dave Voye held a press conference Thursday at 12:30 p.m. to address concerns about the timeline for handling and processing the remaining ballots. According to Fitzgerald, the county will continue to follow federal and state guidelines and regulations in counting ballots.

Fitzgerald said as of last night, a total of 675,928 votes had been recorded and published on the state website. Of those votes, 313,072 were mail-in ballots. He said there are a remaining approximately 35,000 mail-in ballots left to be processed. Of those 35,000, 29,000 are not to be handled until Friday at 5 p.m., per an order from U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan. These 29,000 ballots were mistakenly sent by a County contractor to incorrect voters.

Another 6,800 have what Fitzgerald referred to as “other issues.” These can be mail-in ballots which were damaged from the mail or the processing machine, lacked a secrecy envelope or had date issues. Voye said these ballots have been separated, organized and locked away in the County’s warehouse. The Elections Return Board will look at these ballots beginning Friday at 9 a.m. after its swearing in, as per state law. Return board members will be sworn in by the County Board of Elections, which is composed of Fitzgerald and the two at-large County Council members — Sam DeMarco III, a Republican, and Bethany Hallam, a Democrat.

Fitzgerald said another group of unprocessed ballots are those which are postmarked on or before Election Day, and received after polls closed. The warehouse received about 500 of these ballots as of yesterday. Fitzgerald said these have been set aside and will be dealt with at a later unspecified date.

An additional group of unprocessed ballots are provisionals, of which Fitzgerald estimates there to be between 10,000 and 15,000. These were received by the election judges at the 1,323 in-person polling places around the county and set aside to be processed after all other ballots are counted first. Fitzgerald said these will be processed either late Friday or early next week.

Fitzgerald reminded the public that no election is finalized until boards of elections in all 67 Pennsylvania counties have certified results. He said this process takes until at least 2-3 weeks after Election Day

Elections workers are spending today preparing the warehouse for tomorrow’s return board process.

.“Our goal is to make sure every single vote is counted,” Fitzgerald said. “Every single vote that somebody has cast and they’re a registered voter and their vote was done right, we’re going to process it.”

Allegheny County finishes mail-in ballot count Wednesday evening // Mary Rose O’Donnell, Managing Editor

Allegheny County finished its mail-in ballot count Wednesday at about 11 p.m. Of 348,485 mail-in ballots received, 313,072 were scanned. This is about 89% of the ballots. The remaining 35,413 ballots will be reviewed by the Return Board starting Friday morning at 9 a.m. 

This batch consists of about 29,000 ballots from voters who originally received incorrect ballots and were then issued correct ones, about 2,250 unscannable ballots and about 4,350 ballots with a missing date or an illegible voter declaration.

County boards of elections are legally permitted to count ballots postmarked on or by Tuesday, and received after Tuesday at 8 p.m. and before Friday at 5 p.m., under a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling from mid-September, citing documented delays with the United States Postal Service.

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has asked the Supreme Court to allow it to join a lawsuit pending before the court which challenges the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s extended mail-in ballot deadline.

As of late Wednesday evening, Biden has received 264 electoral votes and Trump has received 214.

Allegheny County resumes count Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. // Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Allegheny County resumed counting mail-in ballots Wednesday at about 10:30 a.m. Of 348,485 ballots received, at least 166,140, slightly under half the total, have been scanned as of 1 p.m.

Allegheny County halts count for the night Tuesday at 2 a.m. // Jon Moss and Charlie Taylor, The Pitt News Staff

Allegheny County halted its mail-in ballot count for the night at 2 a.m. on Election Day. Of  348,485 ballots received, 151,022 have been scanned as of approximately 12:30 a.m. This is about 43% of the ballots.

County boards of elections are legally permitted to count ballots postmarked on or by Tuesday, and received after Tuesday at 8 p.m. and before Friday at 5 p.m., under a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling from mid-September, citing documented delays with the United States Postal Service.

In Pennsylvania, state law prohibits counties from beginning to process mail-in ballots before 7 a.m. on Election Day, and because these ballots must be manually removed from their envelopes and verified as valid before they can be fed into tabulating machines, a final count takes significant time to calculate.

Presidential election hinges on too-early-to-call battleground states // Ashton Crawley, Jon Moss and Mary Rose O’Donnell, The Pitt News Staff

The 2020 presidential election remains too close to call as of early Wednesday morning, with the nail-biter election hinging on the outcome of several midwest swing states, including Pennsylvania, which are still counting ballots in the high-turnout contest.

President Donald Trump won Ohio, Iowa and Florida while Former Vice President Joe Biden was able to secure Minnesota and New Hampshire. However, races were too early to call in North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania — all major battleground states.

With 64% of the expected vote in, according to the Associated Press as of 12:47 a.m., Trump leads Biden 57.04% to 41.78%, or 682,543 votes. Trump won the state in 2016 by about 44,000 votes. The bulk of the remaining votes to be counted are mail-in ballots, which take more time to process. Pennsylvania law blocks county election officials from beginning to count ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day, unlike other states where the count can begin ahead of Election Day.

According to political analysts, Pennsylvania, specifically western counties such as Westmoreland and Allegheny, could be the key to Trump or Biden winning the election. Pennsylvania holds 20 electoral votes, which could decide the race.

‘Take a deep breath’: Polls close at the WPU // Rebecca Johnson, News Editor

As workers prepared to close the William Pitt Union’s polls at 8 p.m., some candidates were making one final campaign push.

Jay Walker — who’s running on the Green party ticket to represent the state House 23rd District — was campaigning outside the WPU since the polls opened trying to court liberal-leaning student voters. Walker said he’s mainly focused on environmental policies, such as banning fracking in Pennsylvania and trying to get money out of politics.

“The biggest issue is banning fracking in Pennsylvania,” Walker said. “We have the constitutional right in Pennsylvania to clean air and clean water and it’s being disregarded left and right by the fracking industry and the reason that is is because they bought our legislature and our governor.”

Jay Walker is running on the Green party ticket to represent the state House 23rd District (Nate Kohler | Multimedia Editor)

Walker said it “sucks” that Biden doesn’t support a total ban on fracking. Walker referenced a poll that showed 52% of Pennsylvania voters opposing fracking.

“He says listen to the scientists, scientists say ban fracking,” Walker said. “Who’s he listening to, what scientists are he listening to? People think you can’t talk about banning fracking to get Pennsylvania.”

But Ally Fedor, a junior political science major, said one of the reasons she supports Biden is because of his environmental policies. Fedor is an employee in the WPU, who spent her shift making sure all the “tech” was running so the polls could run smoothly. She said her shift was “pretty chill” and the polls ran smoothly.

Ally Fedor is a junior political science major (Nate Kohler | Multimedia Kohler)

Fedor voted by mail-in ballot in Washington County, where she said her support for Biden was deeply personal.

“I voted for Joe Biden because as a gay woman, I lean liberal because it benefits me more,” Fedor said. “I also dislike Trump heavily, and that’s pretty obvious.”

Fedor said her advice for fellow students as results start to come in is to “take a deep breath” and “just take another step forward.”

“My advice is just to stay safe, watch carefully, but know that it’s probably not going to be done by tonight,” Fedor said. “It’s probably not going to be done by the end of the week.”

‘If you’re gonna go for an option there’s only really one’: Last voters at Soldiers and Sailors choose Biden // Natalie Frank, Senior Staff Writer

Minutes before the polls closed at 8:00pm, Thor Brodniak ran to the doors of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum to cast his vote.

Brodniak, a first-year psychology and biology major, said his voting experience was “pleasant,” especially running against the clock.

“It was actually pleasant,” Brodniak said. “Just by the fact that they invested so much time to make sure that I actually could vote despite some difficulties.”

Thor Brodniak is a first-year psychology and biology major. (Pam Smith | Staff Photographer)

Brodniak said this was his first time voting in a presidential election and chose to vote for Biden for many reasons, particularly regarding policies of science, and in support of his family.

“I live with two physicians and we believe in science,” Brodniak said. “As well as both of my dads being well, gay. If you’re gonna go for an option there’s only really one.”

Stana Topich, a senior psychology major, was the second to last voter at Soldiers and Sailors on election night. Topich said, while “economically Donald Trump has done a really good job,” his actions have spread “hate” throughout the country, so she chose to vote for Biden.

“I don’t blame him for any of the economic crashes that happened in the pandemic,” Topich said. “However, I think his characters and his speech just created too much hate in the United States and I did not want to vote for that for another four years.”

Stana Topich is a a senior psychology major. (Pam Smith | Staff Photographer)

Topich said she voted “yes” on the charter amendment regarding the Citizen Police Review Board. While she said she did not read about the amendment prior to voting, she voted based on her interpretation.

“I think that that’s definitely a reform that needs to be done,” Topich said. “So if I misunderstood the question then oops, but I think that if that’s the case, if it’s investigating police as a third party then yeah, I voted yes.”

Topich said this was her first time voting in a presidential election, and she was very excited to be able to cast her ballot in time. 

“I was 17 for the last one, so this is very exciting. Literally it’s 8:00 now, so I barely made it,” Topich said. “But we made it.”

‘Slow but steady trickle’: Posvar sees morning rush and evening lull // Mary Rose O’Donnell, Managing Editor

The polling location at Posvar Hall was virtually empty around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

Tim Parenti — an election judge for Ward 4 District 14, which votes in Posvar Hall — said he saw a large wave of voters early in the morning, which evened out by the afternoon.

“We had a long line right at the start of the day. A lot of people very [were] enthusiastic, showing up right at 7 a.m. or shortly thereafter … and we cleared the line completely by 9 a.m,” Parenti said. “It’s been a slow but steady trickle so far to this point in the evening.”

Tim Parenti is the election judge for Ward 4 District 14, which votes in Posvar Hall. (Pamela Smith | Staff Photographer)

According to Parenti, 328 people had voted at the Posvar polling station as of 5 p.m., with 27 additional people casting provisional ballots.

This is Parenti’s second year as the election judge for Posvar Hall and his first presidential election running the polling location. Parenti said he thinks things have gone well at Posvar on Election Day.

“This is the first presidential general election that I’ve worked. We’ve been getting some compliments about how it’s been going here,” Parenti said. “I’d say so far things are going in line with my expectations.”

But Tuesday’s election is not Bonnie Krout and James Love’s first rodeo. Both from nearby McKees Rocks, Love began working the polls in 2008 and Krout started the year after. They both said their favorite part about working the polls was the people they get to meet.

“The people, the students, the community here on the campus here, at CMU and the surrounding area are very decent, friendly people,” Love said. “It’s nice to come back and you look forward to seeing them.”

Krout said she sometimes encounters voters who ask her who they should vote for. While she cannot tell them to vote for a specific candidate, Krout said she does offer a small piece of advice.

“You vote with your heart and your mind,” she said. “You put it together and figure out which person you might like better.”

Elections Court allows poll worker to return // Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Elections Court allowed a poll worker which it removed earlier from the Church of Ascension polling place at 4729 Ellsworth Ave. to return later in the afternoon, according to Allegheny County spokesperson Amie Downs. Districts 10 and 11 of Ward 4 vote at the church. Downs said “other poll workers reported that the individual was causing a disturbance, taking pictures and video of polling place activities and looking at voters’ ballots prior to those being scanned.”

‘I think we need a new party’: McKee Place fire station voters cast ballots with ease // Colm Slevin, Staff Writer

Voting at the McKee Place fire station was a quick process, voters said. Poll workers stood outside with cookies, pizza and water to give to voters who came in and out.

Claude Corbett, a senior industrial engineering major, said he voted for Howie Hawkins, the Green party candidate, because he believes that voting for Joe Biden is not going to solve the issues that he feels strongly about based upon Biden’s political history.

“I don’t supporting someone like Joe Biden who has a history of sexual assault alligations, a history of being buddy buddy with segregationists, wrote the ‘94 crime bill, was the architect of the Iraq war and the list goes on,” Corbett said. “I don’t think that [voting for Biden] solves anything, and I think we need a party that actually fights for working people. My vote for the Green party is a protest vote, I think we need a new party, the Democrats are a hopeless party.”

Claude Corbett is a senior industrial engineering major. (Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor)

Corbett said he feels as though voting in presidential elections is futile.

“In these elections I don’t think it’s very important to vote,” Corbett said. “No matter who we vote for, we are voting for a corporate candidate, and the corporations are going to win.”

‘Our future depends on it’: Afternoon voters face no wait at Career Center // Ashton Crawley, Assistant News Editor

Voters faced almost no wait at 2 p.m. at the Oakland Career Center polling place on Semple Street. Poll workers passed out cookies and pizza to the few students coming in to vote.

Anton Tamkovitch, a senior computer and information science major, said voting went smoothly and that he came out because voting is important to him.

“A lot of my friends made sure that we all went to vote for what we believe in. I feel like everyone should have a voice because people have fought for this,” Tamkovitch said. “People have fought for the right to vote and I feel like it’s very important. Our future depends on it. I know we’re young, but I feel like as students we should have a voice and I’m glad we have that opportunity to make a change.”

Anton Tamkovitch is a senior computer and information science major. (Nate Kohler | Multimedia Editor)

Emelia Sargent, a sophomore environmental science major, helped out at the polls today by handing out cookies to voters. She said voters seemed excited to be there and have their voices heard.

“People need to come vote,” Sargent, who works at the Career Center, said. “They need to know that it’s safe and they need to know that everyone’s welcome to come vote and cookies are a great way to show that.”

Emelia Sargent is a sophomore environmental science major. (Nate Kohler | Multimedia Editor)

‘It’s been very smooth’: Voters cast ballots with ease at North Oakland church // Maggie Young, Contributing Editor

While the First Baptist Church polling place on North Bellefield Avenue didn’t see much of a line this afternoon, those who did come to cast their ballot reported minimal difficulty in doing so, including Brother Joel Hammer of The Pittsburgh Oratory on Bayard Street.

“I was surprised, it was pretty easy,” Hammer, whose faith kept him from revealing who he voted for, said. “There’s a lot of chaos going on with COVID and stuff, so I was happy the poll workers were helpful, straightforward.”

Barbara DeRiso, the election judge for Ward 4 District 12, said about 80 voters had cast their ballots by 2 p.m. She added that she expected about 40 more by the end of the day, out of the 175 voters allocated to that polling place.

“Things are a little bit slow, but that’s because so many people filled in mail-in and absentee ballots,” DeRiso said. “It’s been very smooth.”

Barbara DeRiso is the election judge for Ward 4 District 12, which votes at First Baptist Church. (Jacob Mahaffey ||Staff Videographer)

She mentioned a few individuals who came to vote in person after not having received their requested mail-in ballot, and said poll workers helped fill out the necessary paperwork to count their vote.

Another local voter, Lashawn Joiner, shared an experience similar to Hammer in having had a relatively easy time voting. Joiner did not share for whom she voted, but said she did not vote on the charter amendment regarding the Citizen Police Review Board.

“They’re pretty easy, in and out,” Joiner said. “Everything was pretty laid out.”

Lashawn Joiner voted at First Baptist Church on Tuesday afternoon. (Jacob Mahaffey | Staff Videographer)

Election Court orders poll worker’s removal // Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Elections Court ordered the removal of a poll worker from the Church of Ascension polling place at 4729 Ellsworth Ave., according to Allegheny County spokesperson Amie Downs. Districts 10 and 11 of Ward 4 vote at the church. Downs said “other poll workers reported that the individual was causing a disturbance, taking pictures and video of polling place activities and looking at voters’ ballots prior to those being scanned.”

‘He’s the best of what we have’: Voters at McKee fire station vote for Biden to avoid Trump // Charlie Taylor, Contributing Editor

Voters trickled in and out of the McKee Place fire station Tuesday at around noon. A small group campaigned outside for former Vice President Joe Biden, and another group handed out fliers for George Karpacs, a write-in Republican candidate for Pa’s 18th congressional district. Periodically, a car drove by blasting the song “FDT” — short for “F— Donald Trump” by YD — from its windows.

Aagmya Singh, a senior economics major, said he voted for Biden because he was “better than Trump.”

Another voter, Colson Pelletier, said he voted for Biden because he thought he was more qualified for the presidency than Trump.

“Trump is just not political, and has no idea how to conduct himself in front of people and has no idea how to be an actual president,” Pelletier, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said. “Biden actually cares about the environment, which is a pretty big thing for me.”

Pelletier said he voted “no” on the Citizen Police Review Board charter amendment. He said he thought the board wasn’t qualified to look into police matters.

“I don’t think police officers should be held to investigate something that’s from a board of citizens, if it’s not a direct order from a higher up,” he said.

Christina Obbo, a 2018 Pitt alum, voted at the McKee Place fire station today. (Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor)

Christina Obbo, a 2018 Pitt alumna, said she was “kind of confused” by the wording of the charter amendment question.

“I wish I had done my research,” Obbo said. “I didn’t know that question was gonna pop up, but I said yes to expand [the review board’s] powers. At first I thought it seemed like it said, ‘Do you want to expand the police’s powers?’”

In the presidential race, Obbo said she voted for Biden because she thought he would better protect people’s health care and the rights of “disenfranchised populations.”

“I think he’s the candidate to go for,” Obbo said. “Of course, I would have preferred another one, but he’s the best of what we have.”

Jacob Aluise, a junior English literature and writing major, said he also planned to vote for Biden because he thought Biden cared more about human rights than other candidates, and supported policies that would give people better access to basic needs.

“His views align with mine more so than the other candidates,’” Aluise said. “I’ve always favored candidates that favor human rights above everything else, because that’s what’s really important.”

‘Making sure your voice is heard’: Students vote blue at Posvar // Rebecca Johnson, News Editor

At the polling location in Posvar Hall, lines remained short at noon as voters slowly streamed in to cast their ballots.

Fiona Kean, a senior marketing and data analytics major, said she voted for Joe Biden because his stance on women’s rights and abortion was “crucial.” She also applauded Biden’s environmental policies.

“We need to take a step on the climate change initiatives and get a handle on that because we’re almost to the point of no return,” Kean said. “Keeping in mind everyone’s rights and the equal support that everyone should have to live their life.”

Kean also said she supported either Democratic or Green party candidates for all the down ballot races. She also supported the charter amendment that, if passed, would require police officers to cooperate with investigations conducted by the independent Citizen Police Review Board.

“Especially in this age of police brutality, it’s really crucial that we step up and say something about it,” Kean said.

Ethan Winter, a junior computer science major, said reforming the police is important to him and is one of the main reasons he’s voting for Biden. But Winter said he agrees with Trump’s tax policy and thinks it was a positive for the U.S. economy.

“A few years ago when Trump was first elected, if he kept his mouth shut, not been as disrespectful to the American public and other countries — a lot of his tax cuts were good for the American economy,” Winter said. “Unfortunately though, his handling of the pandemic and racial injustice in America has been awful.”

Lines remained short at the polling location in Posvar Hall at noon as voters slowly trickled in to cast their ballots. (Oliver Yao | Staff Videographer)

Both Kean and Winter said they had an easy experience voting in person, which didn’t match their experience trying to vote by mail-in ballot. Winter said he “just ran out of time” because he requested a mail-in ballot and it never showed up.

Kean — who switched her registration from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, so her vote would have more of an impact in the 2020 election — said she almost requested a mail-in ballot, but she thought it was safer to go in-person.

“I almost did mail-in ballot, but the process with that just took a little too long for me and I got a little nervous,” Kean said. “I just really wanted to make sure my vote was here and my vote was counted.”

Kean added that no matter what political party students are in, it is crucial that students exercise their right to vote and said it’s “really cool” to see 18 to 24 year old flock to the polls.

“Even if you don’t have the same beliefs as me, I think voting and exercising that right is really crucial in this time,” Kean said. “Making sure your voice is heard especially as college students… it’s a big movement we’re living through right now.”

‘Basically forced to vote in person’: Voters troubled with mail-in voting go in person to Soldiers and Sailors // Nathan Fitchett, Senior Staff Writer

The socially distanced lines of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall polling place were quiet at 10 a.m. this morning, as voters slowly trickled in to cast their votes.

Carter Leatherman, a sophomore electrical engineering major, said he voted for Joe Biden because of his embrace of science.

“I really value his stance on climate change, and his science based approach to the issues of our country like COVID-19,” Leatherman said.

Leatherman said he planned to vote by mail, but his ballot never arrived.

“I was basically forced to vote in person,” Leatherman said. ”I applied in late September, and it just never got mailed out.”

Vijai Jaitley, a 49-year-old poll worker, said he signed up to be a poll worker because he was worried there might be a shortage of volunteers.

“I saw different requests for people to come out to be poll workers so that some of the older people might not be able to be poll workers this year,” Jaitley said. “I presumed that there might have been a shortage this year, and I didn’t want them to have to put their health at risk.”

Jaitley said the polls were much more crowded early in the day.

“I believe that the line wrapped all the way around the corner earlier in the day,” Jaitley said. “I think that so far at this point in the day we’ve processed maybe 260, 270 voters.”

Vijai Jaitley is a poll worker at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. (Frank Bassani | Staff Videographer)

Howard Malc, a first-year computer engineering major, said he felt voting for Joe Biden was not even a question.

“Was it really a tough choice? I feel like for the good of the nation you kind of have to right?” Malc said. “I’ll be honest in the primaries he wasn’t my first choice, but he’s really grown on me since then. I don’t know if he can fully fix the country but it can’t get much worse then it is now, right?”

Gina Nadraws, a senior pharmacy major, said she voted yes on the Citizen Police Review Board charter amendment.

“The key line that I read is that there would be internal audits on police,” Nadraws said. “I didn’t know if I entirely understood that, but that’s what I got from it, so that’s why I voted yes.”

Nadraws said she originally registered to vote by mail but changed her mind after hearing stories of ballots allegedly being mishandled.

“I actually had my mail-in ballot, but I kept hearing stories about couriers dumping huge bags of mail,,” Nadraws said. “I figured if I have the ability to be here, it would be a little selfish of me to not completely ensure that my vote is being counted.”

‘Couldn’t stand having Trump for another four years’: Student voters head to the WPU to vote // Millicent Watt, Staff Writer

At the William Pitt Union, students can vote on Election Day at the polling station located in the Assembly Room.

Bea Amsalu, a sophomore neuroscience major, said she voted for Joe Biden because he was the better option.

“I voted for Biden, but not necessarily because he was my first choice, but I couldn’t stand having Trump for another four years,” Amsalu said.

Bea Amsalu voted at the WPU on Tuesday. (Dalia Maeroff | Senior Staff Photographer)

Amsalu said she voted in favor of the Citizen Police Review Board charter amendment, adding that she definitely agrees that police should be investigated.

“It’s like checking the police and how there’s investigative teams that’ll check for police investigations, so I was like yes, that is definitely something that I would want,” Amsalu said. “I also completely want different translations so people can have access to anything that’s going on, so I voted yes to that.”

Luke Barnett, sophomore mechanical engineering major, also voted for Biden.

“I voted for Joe Biden because I think Trump is abusive of his power and it’s time to get him out of office,” Barnett said.

Luke Barnett voted at the WPU on Tuesday. (Dalia Maeroff | Senior Staff Photographer)

Barnett said that he was excited, as it was his first time voting.

“I was excited honestly, just to be able to have my voice heard, finally, and it’s been weird this year with the pandemic,” Barnett said. “I’m glad I actually got to vote in person, so I can be sure my vote is in the ballot and checked in.”

Resources

Election 2020: What’s on the ballot in Allegheny County?

Find your polling place — polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Information about mail-in ballots from Allegheny County — ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m., and received by the county elections offices by Friday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m.

Contact the Pa. Department of State with election questions at 877-868-3772.

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