Journalists have no right to report and photograph inside Pennsylvania polling places, and the U.S. Supreme Court is letting that state restriction stand. Without comment, the court Monday refused to hear a case brought on appeal by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette when its staffers were barred from voting sites in Allegheny and Beaver counties in the fall. State law bars anyone except voters, election workers and registered poll watchers from coming within 10 feet of entrances to polling places on Election Day. The denial means the Pennsylvania law can stay in effect unless the Legislature decides to change it.
“We are disappointed. The justices did not take the case and we continue to believe that the issues raised in the case involve significant First Amendment rights for the media,” said attorney Frederick Frank of Pittsburgh, who represents the Post-Gazette.
The newspaper had argued that access was especially important in November as the state conducted a dry run of voter identification requirements. Journalists wanted to monitor what happened when voters for the first time were asked for identification. The voter ID law, which has not yet gone fully into effect, is being challenged in a separate Commonwealth Court suit filed by several voters claiming disenfranchisement.