UPDATES: Results coming in for Pennsylvania Primary Election

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania’s primary election is on May 18. Below you’ll find the latest updates throughout the day, as well as a guide to help ensure everything goes smoothly when you cast your ballot.

UPDATE 11:21 p.m.: Allegheny County is expecting around 90,000 mail-in ballots to be returned for primary. Results will continue to come in overnight. Look for complete coverage of the 2021 Pennsylvania primary election, on Channel 11 Morning News starting at 4:30 a.m.

UPDATE 11:11 p.m.: As counting is continuing in Allegheny County, election organizers say that in-person turnouts were lower than in previous years.

“I think the polls were pretty slow today. We thought there was going to be about 25% turnout and I think we’ll be close to that,” explained Allegheny County Elections Manager David Voye.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has conceded the race to challenger Representative Ed Gainey.

UPDATE 10:15 p.m.: The race for Pittsburgh mayor just took a turn as one of the challengers to incumbent Bill Peduto just took a small lead.

UPDATE 9:18 p.m.: Election results from the first few precincts have been reported.

There are a little more than 6,000 votes that have been added to the totals, according to the Director of Communications for Allegheny County.

UPDATE 9:08 p.m.: Acting Secretary Veronica W. Degraffenreid said that the primary election in Pennsylvania was successful. with more than 550,00 mail-in ballots already being received.

“With fair weather across the commonwealth, turnout at the polls was typical for municipal elections,” Secretary Degraffenreid said. “No-excuse mail-in voting remained popular in this third election since the option first became available to Pennsylvania voters.”

In Fayette County, some ballots were printed without the barcode that would allow ballots to be scanned. The county ordered additional ballots to be printed with the correct barcode for voters who appeared to vote later in the day. Ballots that were already cast with the missing barcode were secured separately from other ballots and will be counted by hand.

UPDATE 8:07 p.m.: The Elections Division picked up an additional delivery of mail from the Post Office and ballots returned at the office building. As of 8:07 p.m., 2,020 ballots are being processed.

Results from more than 80,000 mail-in and absentee ballots are now in.

UPDATE 8 p.m.: Polls are now closed for the 2021 Pennsylvania primary election. Anyone that is still in line may vote.

UPDATE 6:52 p.m.: An emergency petition order has been filed in Fayette County for unscannable ballots due to a processing problem.

In Fayette County, the following order was posted on how the unscannable ballots will be handled and COUNTED.

Posted by Senator Pat Stefano on Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The order stated that all in-person ballots would be counted by the Jude of Elections and poll workers. The unscanned ballots will be held by the judge at each location and then transferred to the Fayette County Elections Bureau.

The Bureau will then physically review each ballot and count them. The figures shall be included in the official report.

UPDATE 4:55 p.m.: All ballots at the Allegheny County Election Warehouse have now been opened and processed. As of 4:55 p.m. There have been 86,709 ballots scanned so far and a handful are going through a resolution process.

Additionally, pickups from the post office and County Office Building are expected to take place between 7-7:30 p.m. Once polls close, the scanned ballots will be counted and results will be sent out.

UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: There have been very few reports or updates from polling places. All issues from this morning appear to be resolved.

At the elections warehouse, all of the ballots that are currently at the warehouse have had the declaration envelope opened and are going through the pre-canvassing and canvassing process. As of 1:55 PM, 38,500 ballots had been scanned. Almost all operations have moved to flattening and scanning.

Another run to pick up mail from the post office will occur at 7 PM. The staff will also pick up ballots that were returned to the County Office Building up until that time. Any remaining ballots returned will be brought to the warehouse by the Division Manager after polls close.

Finally, in an earlier report, I mistakenly referenced that all 124,000+ declaration envelopes had been opened. That number refers to the total number of ballots that were approved. The number of ballots returned as of that report was 86,828. I apologize for the error.

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: There are several issues reported at polling places in western Pennsylvania.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: All polling place issues identified this morning have been resolved. This includes Pittsburgh 14-29 which opened before 9 AM.

We will not have statistics on voter turnout until results start coming in, but have heard anecdotally that numbers are low across the county.

We had a number of inquiries related to the St. Rosalia polling place for Pittsburgh 15-08 and Pittsburgh 15-10. The polling place is in the basement of the church (entry on Lydia Street), not at the school. We pushed information out regarding that on all of our social channels a little bit ago.

Work at the warehouse continues to progress. The staff have begun the scanning of ballots, and work continues to open declaration envelopes, secrecy envelopes and extraction/flattening of the ballots.

The staff has also scanned in almost all of the mail from the first pick-up earlier today. As of now, 86,828 ballots have been returned – that’s an increase of 5,808 since yesterday’s report.

UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: Rep. Matthew Dowling (R – Fayette & Somerset) released the following statement amid reports of Republican ballots not being scanned:

“With widespread reports of Republican ballots not being scanned in multiple precincts, I am still calling on all registered voters in Fayette County to go out and vote. This election is vital regarding the local leadership in our municipalities. Furthermore, these constitutional amendments and the referendum will guide our commonwealth for years to come.

“The integrity of our election is vital, and blunders like today’s should be investigated. In the spirit of transparency, residents need to be informed of the outcomes of these faults and any other irregularities.”

UPDATE 10:42 a.m.: Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Tony Moreno voted Tuesday morning. Watch what he had to say in the video below.

UPDATE 9:10 a.m.: Allegheny County officials said several other polling places have been reported as having issues opening. They are all being worked on or are resolved.

Here’s a list of the latest reported issues:

  • Mt. Lebanon 03-07 did not have its suitcase with election materials. New materials are being issued and delivered to the site.
  • Pittsburgh 01-01 had a late open because poll workers were using a training machine/training ballots that were on the site. This has now been corrected.
  • White Oak 03 and 05 had poll workers, but no one willing to serve as a judge of election. This has now been corrected.
  • Collier 06 did not have any poll worker report to the site. Staff from the bench has been dispatched.
  • Pittsburgh 02-02 did not have any poll workers report to the site. Staff from the bench has been dispatched.
  • Brentwood 02 had poll workers, but no one opened the building. Elections was pursuing a Court order to open the building, but some from the building is now responding to open the site.

At the Allegheny County Elections Warehouse, “all 124,000+ declaration envelopes have been opened. Staff are continuing to move ballots through the pre-canvassing and canvassing process,” a release said. “Today’s mail has arrived with approximately 8,000 more ballots which are being checked into the system before they begin to go through the same process.”

UPDATE 8:15 a.m.: Several polling places in Allegheny County did not open at 7 a.m. as they were supposed to, officials said.

Poll workers at Pittsburgh 17-03 waited on further instruction on paperwork before opening for voting, an Allegheny County spokesperson said. Poll workers also reported to Pittsburgh 01-01, but had issues setting up equipment.

Meanwhile, “Poll workers had to wait for management to give them access to polling places in Pittsburgh 12-01, 12-03, 12-04, 12-05 and 12-06 (one physical location) and Port Vue 03,” a release said.

There was also an issue at Arlington 16-5 and Swissvale 8. Officials said poll workers reported, but voting materials were delayed.

The following update was given on what’s happening at the Allegheny County Elections Warehouse:

“At the elections warehouse, over half of the returned ballots have had their declaration envelopes opened. It is expected that all ballots will have that first step taken within the hour. Staff have been extracting the secrecy envelopes and identifying any issues.

“Beginning at 8 AM, one part of the floor will begin opening the secrecy envelopes and extracting the ballots to prepare them for scanning. There are 135 staff working at the warehouse this morning. That number does not include supervisory staff or leadership at the warehouse overseeing and participating in the process.”

UPDATE 7 a.m.: Polls are now open for the 2021 Pennsylvania primary election.

What you need to know for Pennsylvania’s primary election

What is a primary election?

When you vote in a primary election, you are choosing candidate(s) you want to see on the general election ballot in November. The candidate(s) who get the highest number of votes in the primary go on to run in the general election for each political party.

In Pennsylvania, the primary election is held on the third Tuesday of May in most years.

Additionally, in Pennsylvania, you can only vote for the candidates in the same political party you have named in your registration.

Who can vote?

To register in Pennsylvania, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States for at least one month prior to the next election
  • Be a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which you want to register and vote at least 30 days before the next election
  • Be 18 years old on or before the next election

For more political coverage and stories from our Washington D.C. bureau, visit our Politics page

Voter Registration

If you are a Pennsylvania resident and you want to vote in the May primary election, you must have registered to vote by May 3. There are four ways to do that:

  • Online
  • By Mail
  • In-person at your county voter registration office
  • At PennDOT and some other government agencies


You can check your voter registration status HERE.

Absentee and Mail-in Ballots

If you were planning to vote by absentee or mail-in ballot, the deadline to complete the application has already passed. The deadline for the elections office to receive a mail-in or absentee ballot is May 18 at 8 p.m. Postmarks are not enough.

An absentee ballot is for voters who plan to be out of the municipality on Election Day or those who have a disability or illness.

A mail-in ballot is for voters who are not considered absentee voters. Any registered voter may apply for a mail-in ballot.

You can request either of those ballots HERE.


In Allegheny County, ballots can be returned to the Elections Division by mail, by hand to the office or by hand to the ballot return in the lobby of the County Office Building. The County Office Building is located at 542 Forbes Avenue and lobby hours are:

  • Friday, May 14: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 15: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 16: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Monday, May 17: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 18 (Election Day): 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Absentee and mail-in ballots cannot be dropped off at your polling place.

Polling Locations and Hours

On Election Day, polls in Pennsylvania will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. If you are in line to vote when polls close, you are entitled to vote. The state does not offer in-person early voting.

To find your polling location, enter your address online here. It may be a good idea to double check the location ahead of the primary as there could be new locations due to coronavirus concerns.

If you have voted at your polling location before, you do not need to bring ID to vote. Only voters who are voting for the first time in their election district need to show ID, according to the Pennsylvania voter guide.

Acceptable IDs for first-time voters:

  • Driver’s license
  • U.S. passport
  • Military, student, or employee ID
  • Voter registration card
  • Firearm permit
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check
  • Any ID issued by the commonwealth or federal government

Note: An ID without your photo must have your address on it.

Who, what is on the ballot?

The ballot for the May primary will include choices for Justice of the (PA) Supreme Court, Judge of the Superior Court, Judge of the Commonwealth Court, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and various county and local municipality positions.

Also on the ballot will be four statewide ballot questions along with various county or local ones.

Your county elections office should be able to provide you with a sample ballot ahead of the primary if you want to take a look before voting.

CLICK HERE to find your county election office.