PITTSBURGH — Two Republican congressional candidates filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday asking for permission to have poll watchers at the satellite election sites in Allegheny County.
According to our partners at TribLive.com, the suit, filed by Sean Parnell and Luke Negron, argues that poll watchers are necessary at the locations to preserve the election’s integrity. The suit also references the issue reported earlier in the week in which nearly 29,000 voters received the wrong ballot after an error by the printing company.
Allegheny County approved a number of satellite election locations where voters could request, fill out and drop off a mail-in ballot in one stop. County leaders said the locations were opened as a result of the pandemic so voters could have a safe place to return ballots or apply for one.
>>>RELATED: Additional voting sites open in Allegheny County
The lawsuit says two men tried to get their poll watcher certificates for the satellite offices and were denied. The suit says the men were told by a county elections official that certificates were not available and had not yet been printed. The complaint says not allowing poll watchers at the location is a violation of the state Elections Code.
The suit asks the court to decide on the validity of ballots already cast at the locations, find that denying poll watchers is unconstitutional, and declare the rights of voters in Allegheny County have been violated.
It names the Allegheny County Board of Elections, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, County Councilwoman Bethany Hallam and County Councilman Sam DeMarco as defendants.
Sean Parnell is running for Congress against U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Mt. Lebanon, and Luke Negron, running for Congress against U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills.
Saturday October 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday October 18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
- Boyce Park Ski Lodge
- CCAC South
- County office building
- Shop 'n Save Hill District
- South Park Ice Rink
An attorney for Parnell and Negron sent Channel 11 a statement:
“Our clients, Sean Parnell and Luke Negron, the Republican candidates for Congress in Allegheny County, have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pittsburgh seeking transparency in the elections process in Allegheny County. Both Sean and Luke believe in fair and free elections as required by the Constitution. Both men have served our nation and taken an oath to protect and defend that same Constitution. Their representatives were denied Watchers Certificates by the County Election Board to observe the voting taking place in the Satellite Stations set up in Allegheny County. It is imperative, especially in light of the 30,000 ballot error of the County Election Board’s contractor, and the re-voting by those affected, that all parties be issued watchers certificates to observe the process. The continued denial of these permits , coupled with the County’s massive ballot error, violates the constitutional rights of Allegheny County residents to a fair and free federal election, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution. The solution to this problem is for the Board to immediately issue all candidates, and all political parties, watchers certificates , and to follow the law in the handling of the erroneous ballots in a transparent process. This is the USA, not a third world nation, and the Constitution requires a fair and open process in the election of our federal representatives.”
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