Pennsylvania helped President Barack Obama win re-election as U.S. Sen. Bob Casey fended off a feisty challenge from Republican coal magnate Tom Smith in what turned out to be a big night for Democrats in the Keystone State.
Democrats held the lead in three state row office races as of 2:30 a.m. Wednesday with close to 98 percent of the vote in, according to unofficial results.
Kathleen Kane, a former assistant district attorney from Lackawanna County, made history by becoming the first Democrat and first woman to be elected as the state's attorney general. The Republican candidate, David Freed, is a two-term district attorney in Cumberland County.
Democrat Eugene DePasquale of York leads Republican John Maher of Allegheny in the auditor general race.
Democratic incumbent Treasurer Rob McCord of Montgomery County won a second term by defeating Republican Diana Irey Vaughan, a county commissioner from Washington County in southwestern Pennsylvania.
2012 ELECTION RESULTS (98.82 percent reporting)Race Democratic Candidates Results Republican Candidates Results U.S. President
Obama-Biden2,864,619 Romney-Ryan 2,580,543
Bob Casey2,899,659 Tom Smith 2,417,029
PA Attorney General
David Freed 2,227,836
PA Auditor Eugene DePasquale 2,623,291
John Maher 2,454,802
PA Treasurer Robert McCord 2,762,278
Diana Irey Vaughan 2,315,845
Election Day was busy in eastern Pennsylvania with reports of problems and controversy and several polling places.
In Easton, signs appeared offering a A constable for Easton’s 10th ward removed one such sign staked into the ground after consulting with an elections attorney on site. The Pennsylvania Commercial Action Network, the same group that posted “Replace ObamaCare” billboards around the state, made the signs.
Many Easton voters also reported poll workers asking for their IDs, even though IDs are not required for this election cycle under the law.
Matthew Keeler, press secretary for the PA Department of State, said that's part of the plan. "Voters are not required to show an ID or to have one, but they are going to be asked if they have one by poll workers."
"We view this as a soft rollout for when Pennsylvania's voter ID law is in full effect next year," Keeler said.
Voters in Newtown encountered two large signs that said “Please Have Your Photo ID Ready." A member of the local Democratic Party said she encountered the signs at 7 a.m. at the entrance to the polling line and that some people were leaving because they did not have an ID. No one at the polling place, including the election judge, claimed responsibility for posting the signs.
Challenges for Voters and Poll Watchers
In Philadelphia in overwhelmingly Democratic districts. Democrats denied this, but said the poll watchers main goal wasn’t to monitor potential voter fraud, but to suppress the vote and lower turnout. A judge ordered that the poll watchers be reinstated.
In Phoenixville, a Republican poll watcher challenged the eligibility of a voter who had an “inactive” voter registration status because he hadn’t voted in five years. The man left, later returned to the polling place with his ID and was able to cast his ballot.
Viral Touchscreen Video
There also have been technical issues with voting in Pennsylvania. One voter posted this video on Youtube of a touchscreen machine apparently incorrectly registering his vote for President Barack Obama as a vote for Mitt Romney.
Hurricane Sandy is also causing problems at the polls. In Philadelphia County, commissionersstruggled to process 28,000 new registrations that came in after the hurricane caused election offices to shut down for two days.
In Montgomery County, Democratic County Commissioners Josh Shapiro, Leslie Richards, and their Republican colleague Bruce Castor said Tuesday afternoon that Election Day in the county is proceeding smoothly.
Voters Asked About Their Party Affiliation
Voters in Nazareth, Northampton County told Patch they were put off by a woman - possibly an RNC poll watcher - who asked them questions inside a polling place at Gracedale Nursing Home.
Voter Mark Cloeren said, "There was an RNC rep in the voting room asking each voter 'Republican or Democrat?' After a bit of a discussion she said she was asking whether you were registered one way or the other. But it came across more like she wanted to know how you were voting."
Another resident said the woman continued to talk with voters if they told her they were Republican. A thid voter told Patch he found the situation odd and uncomfortable.
The woman was not at the polls when a Patch editor went there. The judge of elections at the poll told Patch she didn't hear any politicking in the room and didn't know who appointed the woman.
Any party or political organization is entitled to have watchers at any primary or election.
Influential Pennsylvania political insiders differ on the key to winning the Keystone State for President Barack Obama or former Gov. Mitt Romney.
Republicans say the role of undecided and independent voters will be key to a Romney win, while Democrats say turning out their base is the top priority for Obama, according to Red Keystone/Blue Keystone surveys by Patch.
(50 Republicans and 29 Democrats replied to the surveys, which were sent to local officials, candidates and party leaders)
Here's how the replies broke down:
Republicans on what's more important
- 13 - Get out the base
- 35 - Convince undecided/independent voters
Democrats on what's more important
- 21 - Get out the base
- 6 - Convince undecided/independent voters
Who will win Pennsylvania?
Democrats were far more unified than GOP in their opinion of who will win Pennsylvania. Twenty-seven said Obama, while just two said Romney. Eighteen Republicans said Obama and 32 said Romney.
Who had the best ground game and ad campaign?
Democrats and Republicans both largely supported their candidate on the question of who ran the best campaign. Patch asked survey takers to assess the campaigns regardless of the respondent's partisan preference.
How did Pa. vote in 2008 presidential race?
In 2008, Pennsylvania voted Democratic with nearly 3.3 million voters, or 55 percent, casting ballots for the Obama-Biden team. Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin earned nearly 2.7 million votes. According to statistics collected by the Pennsylvania Department of State office, voter turnout tallied about 68.4 percent in 2008.
Here's a sampling of comments from our surveys:
- I think the results will be extremely close and will be based on turnout, yet at the same time, I believe the local elections down the ballot will be affected in results by the amount of times a person is willing to switch parties. They will for president, but the questions remains, when will they change back to their party?
- If Pennsylvania goes to Romney, it's going to be an early election night. Looks like team R and R may have caught the president flatfooted.
- Republicans will increase House margin from 12-7 to 13-5
- Record voter turnout in GOP areas, average turnout in Dem areas.
- I think voters are disappointed with how things have gone the past four years and will make that frustration heard at the polls on Tuesday.
- The presidential campaign has been lackluster in Pennsylvania. Obama felt that this was his state from the beginning, and Romney has not been highly involved until recently.
- While I believe the enthusiasm for President Obama has diminished a bit since the 2008 election, I'm not seeing much enthusiasm at all for Gov. Romney.
- I think Casey, Kane and McCord will win. Auditor General will be a nail biter and, unfortunately, I believe [U.S. Rep.] Mark Critz is going to lose. I think the Democrats will pick up a total of 4-6 seats in the State House and 1 in the State Senate.
- Pennsylvania must institute an early voting program - similar to 37 other states.
- I am distressed and, quite frankly, disgusted with the influence of the Super PACs on this election. Money should not buy a candidate an office and these Super PACs exist only to use their dollars to buy the office for the candidate of their choice. Their ads are, in many cases, misleading and misinformed. If those individuals have so much money, why don't they use it to help people rather than work to tear our country apart with their rhetoric?