The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local 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
Local News
  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    Here are the names of the 10 entrants that were chosen today-April 24, 2014.  If you see your name, call the Circulation Department at 814-532-5000 (#1) or 1-866-307-0905 to verify your information.

    April 24, 2014

  • WilliamsA ‘I thought I was going to die’

    Hornerstown resident Robert “Bobby” Williams said he endured two hours of surgery, suffered a heart attack and fears he may never again be able to fully use his right arm.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    Here are the names of the 10 entrants that were chosen today-April 22, 2014.  If you see your name, call the Circulation Department at 814-532-5000 (#1) or 1-866-307-0905 to verify your information.

    April 22, 2014

  • JFD traing Firefighters practice river rescues

    Johnstown Fire Department members lift a “victim” out of the rescue basket during training Wednesday along the Stonycreek River flood-control wall

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • sewer meeting map Sewer work will tie up traffic

    Brace yourselves.
    This summer’s sewer main replacement project will delay traffic with detours, closed streets and lane restrictions through one of Johnstown’s notoriously snarled neighborhoods.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • USS Somerset USS Somerset arrives at San Diego homeport

    The USS Somerset is home.
    The amphibious transport dock ship named in honor of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 arrived at its new homeport of Naval Base San Diego on Monday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jablonski, Stephen Charges filed in courthouse bomb threat

    A Johnstown man was charged by Ebensburg Borough police Wednesday with threatening to blow up the Cambria County Courthouse, a call he admitted to Ebensburg police he made Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vizza, Peter Vizza voted deputy mayor

    The top vote-getter in last year’s Johnstown City Council election is now also the city’s deputy mayor.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conemaugh Township rezoning opens business possibilities

    A portion of South Main Street in Davidsville will be rezoned to give greater allowances to the businesses along the road.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sculptor’s work to be raffled off

    The work of a local sculptor will be raffled off during the Art in Bloom show.

    April 23, 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
House Ads