Appeals court rejects PG quest for polling place access

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The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today affirmed a federal judge's decision rejecting the Post-Gazette's challenge to a state law that prevents reporters, and others not involved in voting, from entering polling places.

The three appeals judges who heard oral arguments on the case Oct. 24 indicated in a short docket entry that they carefully considered the positions outlined then and in written submissions, and will issue a full opinion on a later date. They will not overturn U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer's opinion.

Judge Fischer declined on Oct. 9 to approve a proposed consent order between the Post-Gazette and the Allegheny County Board of Elections.

That order would have allowed reporters to photograph or record people signing in to vote, but not actually voting. State law now bars anyone except for voters, elections workers and registered poll watchers from coming closer than 10 feet from a polling place entrance.

The Post-Gazette has argued that journalistic access is particularly important Nov. 6, as the state does a dry run of voter identification requirements.

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Rich Lord:, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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