Judge dismisses Post-Gazette lawsuit seeking access to polling places

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A federal judge today dismissed the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's lawsuit seeking media access to polling places.

In a 58-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer agreed with Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele that the newspaper's right to gather news was not infringed by polling place access rules.

"It suffices to say that the present circumstances do not justify 'federal-court oversight' of the manner in which election officials in Allegheny County discharge their duties on Election Day," Judge Fischer wrote.

The newspaper had said that because state law requires, and the county enforces, a rule barring people other than voters and election officials from coming within 10 feet of polling places, its ability to monitor the sign-in process at polls was compromised.

The state law does not single out reporters and so it does not infringe on free speech rights, the judge found.

breaking - region - legalnews - electionsmunicipal

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542.


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