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Pennsylvania House Speaker Pushes for Same-Day Registration and Widely Available Early Voting

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Pennsylvania House Speaker Pushes for Same-Day Registration and Widely Available Early Voting


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania House speaker said Monday that qualified residents should be able to register to vote at polling places on the day of elections, and that early voting centers should be open for two weeks beforehand. Speaker Joanna McClinton had proposed these measures as part …



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This Route 78 project will cause delays at the N.J.-Pennsylvania border over the next year

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This Route 78 project will cause delays at the N.J.-Pennsylvania border over the next year


Drivers using the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s Route 78 bridge between New Jersey and Pennsylvania are in for some closed lanes during two overnight periods this week that is a prelude to a bigger construction project.

Parts of the Route 78 toll bridge approach roadway segments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania will be closed during between Thursday night into Friday morning.

Between 8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, to 5 a.m. Friday, April. 26, the Route 78 east center and right lanes will be closed for pothole repairs from the Morgan Hill Road/Route 78 interchange (Exit 75) in Pennsylvania to the routes 22 and 173/Route 78 interchange(Exit 3) in New Jersey. One lane will remain open.

Between 10 p.m. Thursday, April 25, to 7 a.m. Friday, April 26, the Route 78 west center and right lanes will be closed for pothole repairs from the routes 22 and 173/Route 78 Exit 3 interchange in New Jersey to the Route 78 bridge at the Delaware River. One lane will be open.

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These closed lanes are the first part of a year-long, $23 million Route 78 New Jersey Roadway Rehabilitation and Power and Communications-Infrastructure Improvements Project being done by the Crisdel Group, Inc. of South Plainfield.

That New Jersey segment was rehabilitated between 2007 and 2009 and is deteriorating, despite a series of stop-gap asphalt joint replacements and pothole repair projects over the past five years, officials said.

The project involves milling the old pavement off they highway and repaving work, including the three commission owned ramps at Exit 3. Highway shoulders will be resurfaced and have rumble strips installed. The highway lanes will be re-striped and Route 78 Toll Bridge’s concrete road deck and 14 other Commission-owned approach bridges in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will be sealed, officials said.

The project also includes upgrading the Commission’s security camera network on the Route 78 bridge and the commission’s Route 78 approach 4.2-mile highway segment in New Jersey and 2.25-mile section in Pennsylvania.

Drivers should anticipate minor slowdowns and backups and reduce speeds in active construction zones or restricted travel areas.

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Larry Higgs may be reached at lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on X @CommutingLarry





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When will Pa. primary election results be ready?

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When will Pa. primary election results be ready?


This story originally appeared on Spotlight PA.

Election experts in Pennsylvania expect largely smooth sailing at the polls this week, anticipating the unofficial results for most races on the April 23 ballot will be available on election night.

Pennsylvania has been holding elections using no-excuse mail voting since 2019, and the state has steadily moved from persistent delays in reporting results to relatively quick turnarounds. This has been accomplished mostly thanks to workers’ increasing familiarity with the mail process, and state grants allowing counties to upgrade their equipment.

“I would expect almost all counties to be able to report an overwhelming number of those ballots on election night,” said Jeff Greenburg, a former Mercer County election director who now works for the good-government group Committee of Seventy. He added that “there could be a few that stretch into Wednesday.”

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On the ballot are candidates for president and U.S. Senate, though those races are essentially decided on both sides of the aisle. More lively are the races for Pennsylvania’s three row offices: both the Democratic and Republican attorney general primaries have multiple candidates, and there are competitive Democratic primaries for treasurer and auditor general.

The state House and Senate are also full of races to watch.

Final outcomes for most of the races in both chambers will be decided in the primary, thanks in part to legislative maps that have created a relatively small number of truly swingable districts. Races to watch include those of state House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler, who is being challenged from the right for his Lancaster County district, and Democratic state Rep. Amen Brown, who faces two challengers to his left in a West Philly district that has in recent years seen repeated turnover in its representation.

As of Friday morning, the Pennsylvania Department of State had approved nearly 896,000 applications for mail ballots; it approved 1.82 million during the presidential primary in 2020. That year, just under 80% of voters returned those mail ballots, according to the department.

Voters who have already filled out and returned their mail ballots may have noticed several changes from previous years. The department put these in place to cut down on common ballot errors like failing to sign or date them, misdating them, or forgetting to use an interior secrecy envelope, according to Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt.

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“Since the 2020 election cycle, thousands of mail ballots have not been able to be counted because of errors that voters made while completing their mail ballots,” Schmidt said in one of several recent, daily updates on election preparations.

The redesigned ballots include an instruction sheet that has graphics. The interior secrecy envelope is now yellow, which Schmidt says is intended to distinguish it more clearly from the outer envelope. The outer envelope also has a colored stripe to help the Postal Service identify election mail, and it includes a revised section for dating and signing the ballot that highlights where these elements must go.

The redesign also is in part an acknowledgment of the state laws and court rulings currently dictating Pennsylvania’s mail voting rules.

The handling of undated and misdated ballots, in particular, is still under active litigation. The most recent decision on the subject saw a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rule that ballots must be properly dated. If a voter fails to date an outer ballot envelope or writes a clearly incorrect date, such as their birthday, counties must reject the ballot.

Voting rights groups are appealing the ruling on the grounds that a missing or incorrect date is an immaterial error, and that rejecting these ballots disenfranchises eligible voters. However, the status quo will not change before the primary election.

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There also remain several areas of state law in which there is no consistent statewide rule. Counties can decide whether to offer remote drop boxes for mail ballot returns. And they can decide whether to offer ballot curing, in which election officials notify voters of mail ballot mistakes before Election Day.



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What to know about Pennsylvania and the 2024 election

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What to know about Pennsylvania and the 2024 election


Pennsylvania’s presidential primary election is Tuesday. It’s a prelude to the November general election, when the commonwealth is expected to again play a critical role in the race for the White House. (AP Video: Tassanee Vejpongsa)

Pennsylvania’s presidential primary election is Tuesday. It’s a prelude to the November general election, when the commonwealth is expected to again play a critical role in the race for the White House. (AP Video: Tassanee Vejpongsa)

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