The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

October 30, 2012

Check in with local precincts, U.N. election observers are told

HARRISBURG — If European election observers head to Pennsylvania polls, that’s well and good, says the state. But it’s up to the polling places on whether or not they can be allowed in.

Election observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will monitor polling places in the United States on Tuesday.

The group, a United Nations affiliate with a department devoted to ensuring fair election practices worldwide, has monitored U.S. elections in the past.

Though the group has not said outright where it will deploy its 57 observers, Pennsylvania’s high-profile voter ID law could draw their attention.

Ron Ruman, Department of State spokesman, said Pennsylvania welcomes any interested parties to watch elections, but made it clear that it’s up to local officials on what they’ll be allowed to see.

“The person at the precinct can do what they think is proper,” Ruman said.

There are more than 9,300 polling places statewide.

The judge of elections could permit observers to stand quietly and watch, but they also could decide to block allow anyone inside the polling place if they thought it would interfere with the process, he said.

Observers will not be able to talk to voters inside the polling place, Ruman said. Any questions have to be directed to officials. Communication with voters has to happen 10 feet away from the polling place – or, a little more than 3 meters, for folks more accustomed to the metric system. That’s the same rule that applies to media coverage and campaigners.

Ruman said there is no tolerance for interfering with the election process.

“If the local officials need to take action because of interference, Governor Corbett and (Department of State) Secretary Aichele will stand behind local officials 100 percent,” Ruman said.

Because of worsening weather conditions because of Hurricane Sandy on Monday, PA Independent was unable to contact local election officials around the state.

OSCE monitors elections worldwide for fair practices, including the U.S. presidential elections in 2004 and 2008, and the mid-term elections in 2010. It started this year’s U.S. mission in early October.

The move has Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott fuming, saying the organization’s members are not allowed, by law, inside Texas polling places.

Though Pennsylvania has not been named officially as a spot where the team will have observers on the ground, the action coincides with urging from civil-rights groups requesting third-party observation in states where they have concerns.

On Oct. 12, eight civil-rights groups including the NAACP and the League of Women Voters wrote to OSCE urging their impartial presence at elections in particular states where there are new election laws.

“Accordingly, we urge the OSCE to deploy its limited election monitors in those states where restrictions on voting have been most extensive – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin,” the letter reads.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs 4/20/2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 19, 2014

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads