Few surprises in relatively calm and successful Pennsylvania primary

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(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s primary night lacked surprises as the presidential nominees were already locked in and few problems cropped up at the polls.

Democrats cast their ballot for Joe Biden with 93% support and Republicans followed Donald Trump with 83% support according to early results. As the commonwealth prepares for a U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Bob Casey and Republican nominee Dave McCormick prepare for the general election after running unopposed in their primaries.

In U.S. House District 1 in Philadelphia’s northeast suburbs, Republican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick staved off a primary challenge from Mark Houck. And in U.S. House District 3 in Philadelphia, Democratic incumbent Dwight Evans handily defeated primary challenger Tracey Gordon.

In western Pennsylvania, Democratic incumbent Summer Lee defeated a primary challenge from Bhavini Patel in Pittsburgh’s U.S. House District 12. Democrat Kenneth Bach defeated Christopher Dziados in U.S. House District 14 to earn a spot against Republican incumbent Guy Reschenthaler.

Central Pennsylvania’s U.S. House District 10 chose Democrat Janelle Stelson to face off against Republican incumbent Scott Perry.

And, in the Lehigh Valley, Republican Ryan Mackenzie won a three-way race in U.S. House District 7 to face Democratic incumbent Susan Wild.

Though county-by-county rules vary for voting processes in the commonwealth, the Department of State had few concerns to report.

“It’s been a relatively calm and successful primary election today in Pennsylvania,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt said during an evening press conference.

More training for election officials and more experience with mail-in voting seemed to help avoid some problems experienced during the commonwealth’s previous elections.

In 2020, the Department of State received 3,600 calls to its voter hotline related to voting problems on the last presidential primary day and 1,100 calls on the last midterm primary day, Schmidt said.

“Today, we handled approximately 600,” he said. “It is a significant decrease – one that we believe demonstrates that Pennsylvania’s voters overwhelmingly encountered an improved voting experience this year.”

The secretary thanked the hundreds of county election officials and emphasized that “nothing out of the ordinary” occurred on Election Day.

He noted that more than 895,000 mail-in ballots were requested by voters and at least 75% of them were returned by 8 p.m., but it will take days to finish counting every vote. By law, election officials aren’t allowed to process or open mail-in ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day.