Republican officials are alleging voting irregularities in the District 18 special election, and say they plan to go to court seeking to impound all the voting machines used Tuesday. Democrat Conor Lamb of Mt. Lebanon holds a slim lead over Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone of Elizabeth Township. With a few absentee and provisional ballots still out, his lead is a few hundred votes out of more than 200,000 cast in the congressional district formerly held by Republican Tim Murphy. The seat had been safely Republican for more than a decade and national Republican organization spent millions supporting Mr. Saccone. But Mr. Lamb mounted a strong challenge and remained ahead in the vote count Wednesday morning. A Republican source familiar with the campaign said that the GOP planned to petition for the voting machines used in all four counties to be impounded, pending a recount.
It is not yet clear where such a petition would be filed. But Republicans are investigating a number of purported Election Day irregularities including problems with the machines, voters being told to go to the wrong polling places, and Republican attorneys being barred from overseeing the counting of absentee ballots in Allegheny County.
County spokeswoman Amie Downs said that on Election Day there had been discussions with Republican attorneys about their ability to oversee the vote-counting process. Under the state Election Code, she said, such observers must have a signed authorization from the chair of the county committee. “They didn’t produce that until the very end of the evening, when the ballots had already been scanned,” she said.