Despite uncertainties, county officials preparing for Pa. primary

    Rejected Pennsylvania House and Senate redistricting maps aren’t the only things upending the election process and affecting this year’s candidates.

    As county officials prepare for the April 24 primary, the Allegheny County director of elections has noticed an inordinate number of ballot challenges.

    That may be due to various unique circumstances this year, said Ron Ruman, a spokesman for the Department of State.

    “There are a number of districts where there are multiple candidates who filed in the primary,” he said. “There’s a situation where one candidate has been convicted of a crime and not yet sentenced.”

    That last circumstance refers to Democratic Rep. Bill DeWeese, who was found guilty last month of theft, conspiracy, and conflict of interest. A judge denied a challenge to his candidacy this week.

    The director of elections for Adams County said she’s still not ruling out a sudden curve ball, such as two primaries — one for state legislative district races and one for elections on the federal level.

    “If they do a second election, we may not have poll workers that are available, we may not having polling locations available, you know for a second primary,” said Monica Dutko. “We’ll just have to see, you know. It’s not an easy fix. You know, they can’t just change the date and expect all the logistics to fall into place.”

    Still, another county director of elections says the chance of a delayed or split primary grows more remote by the day.

    Meanwhile, counties must now plan to hold special elections for the six vacant state House districts during the April primary.

    The state House Speaker has announced he’ll issue the writs of election as per the state Supreme Court’s four-to-three ruling that he do so.

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