HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Pennsylvania is unlikely to report results on election night, the state’s top elections official said last month, because of a law restricting when absentee ballots can be processed.
That means voters may have to wait again to learn who will win key races in the battleground state, where vote counting in the 2020 presidential election went on for days.
“We must again ask for patience,” Leigh Chapman, Pennsylvania acting Secretary of State, told reporters via Zoom.
“Official results will be available within a few days,” she said, predicting unofficial results would also not be available on November 8. “This delay does not mean anything shameful is happening. It simply means that the process works the way it’s designed to work in Pennsylvania and the election officials are doing their job of counting every vote.”
Chapman attributed the expected delay to the state’s General Assembly’s decision not to pass legislation allowing counties to begin processing mail-in ballots before Election Day.
Currently, processing can only begin at 7:00 a.m. on this day.
News organizations often declare a winner before an official count is issued, based on a detailed analysis of the partial results. But in the 2020 presidential race, it was still four days before ABC News called Pennsylvania about Joe Biden, due both to how tight margins are in the longtime purple state and the increasing use of mail-in ballots.
INCORRECT MAIL-IN VOICES
Some of Pennsylvania’s largest counties worked Monday to help voters fix mail-in ballots that have serious errors, such as incorrect dates or missing signatures on the envelopes they were mailed in.
Election officials in Philadelphia and Allegheny, which includes Pittsburgh, announced actions they have taken over the past few days in response to orders from the state Supreme Court that said mail-in ballots cannot be counted if they have accurate handwritten data on them Outer envelopes missing.
The State Department said it was unclear how many ballots were in dispute across the state. The agency asked counties over the weekend to provide the numbers, broken down by political party. Officials said some counties were not letting voters correct their mistakes.
SEE ALSO: Philadelphia Shares List of Voters Who Submitted Incorrect Absentee Ballot Records
More than a million mail-in and mail-in ballots have already been returned in Pennsylvania ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, with Democrats far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail. The numbers are big enough that they could matter in a close race, such as B. the contest between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz, which could determine the majority in the US Senate.
The Pennsylvania lawsuit was filed by Republican groups and is part of a multi-state legal effort by both parties to have disputes over voting rules and procedures settled by courts ahead of the midterm elections.
A new federal lawsuit over the envelope data was filed Monday in federal court in Pittsburgh by the Democrats’ national congressional and senate campaign organizations, two Democratic voters and Fetterman’s US Senate campaign. They sued county elections offices statewide, arguing that tossing out ballots without proper envelope dates would violate a provision of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says people are not allowed to vote based on what the lawsuit calls “unnecessarily technical.” voting can be held as required.”
A separate federal lawsuit filed Friday makes a similar argument.
Leigh Chapman on Monday urged mail-in voters who believe they have made technical errors to contact their county electoral offices. If the county won’t let them fix the issue, they should go to their local polling station Tuesday and request a tentative vote, she said.
Philadelphia Assistant Commissioner Nick Custodio said last week’s court decision and the deluge of ballots rolling in ahead of Election Day have made it difficult to issue direct notifications.
“So far we’ve only been able to publish a list on our website, but we’re evaluating what other options are available given the short timeline,” Custodio said.
SEE ALSO: Election Day Voting Times, Polling Stations, and How to Report Problems
Dozens of voters trying to correct their ballots turned up at City Hall over the weekend, and Custodio said more were visiting city offices on Monday. Volunteers from multiple groups contact these voters to see if they need help getting to the polling station.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last Tuesday that mail-in votes don’t count if they are “contained in undated or incorrectly dated envelopes,” then supplemented that with a follow-up ruling Saturday that set the allowable date range for mail-in was established and postal voting.
Ballots without properly dated envelopes have been the subject of litigation since absentee voting was greatly expanded in Pennsylvania under a state law passed in 2019.
Mail-in ballots must be in by 8 p.m. Tuesday, so at that time officials are urging those who haven’t already done so to hand them into polling stations or dropboxes.
Voters who did not vote by mail can vote in person at their polling station on election day. The polling stations will be open on November 8 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Voters who have applied for and received an absentee ballot and then choose to go to the polls must bring their absentee ballot packet for validation, including the absentee ballot that was not voted and the Voter Declaration outer return envelope.
If a voter has applied for a ballot-by-mail but has not returned it and no longer possesses the ballot-by-mail and outer envelope, they may vote by provisional voting at their polling station on election day. Your county election committee will then verify that you haven’t voted by mail before counting your provisional ballots.
If a voter applied for a postal ballot but never received it, they should vote at their polling station on election day using a provisional ballot. Your county election committee will then verify that you haven’t voted by mail before counting your provisional ballots.
ABC News and Associated Press contributed to this report.
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https://6abc.com/2022-midterms-election-day-pennsylvania-polls-results/12428239/ Election Day 2022: Why Pennsylvania may not have midterm election night results