Why It's OK If Pennsylvania Doesn't Have Election Night Results

Why It’s OK If Pennsylvania Doesn’t Have Election Night Results

Due to a statute restricting when mail votes can be processed, Pennsylvania is unlikely to have results on election night this November, according to the state’s chief election officer on Tuesday.

As a result, it’s possible that voters in the battleground state, where the count of votes for the 2020 presidential election took days, will once again have to wait to find out who wins important elections. Leigh Chapman, the acting secretary of state for Pennsylvania, told reporters via Zoom that “we must once more appeal for patience.”

She predicted that Nov. 8 would not see the release of unofficial results and stated that official results would be released in a few days. “There is nothing untoward going on in this delay. It merely indicates that Pennsylvania’s election system is functioning as intended and that election officials are carrying out their duty to tally every ballot.”

The state’s General Assembly decided not to adopt legislation allowing counties to start processing mail-in votes before Election Day, which Chapman blamed on the anticipated delay. As things stand, processing won’t start until that morning at 7 a.m.

Before an official count is released, news media frequently declare a winner using a thorough examination of the preliminary data. However, it still took ABC News four days to declare Pennsylvania for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential contest, which is indicative of how close elections sometimes are in the historically purple state as well as the growing popularity of mail-in ballots.

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned an appellate judge’s decision requiring Pennsylvania counties to count updated ballots, despite a state law requiring voters to date their mail-in ballot envelopes, in another election-season shift.

The Supreme Court’s judgement, according to a statement released by Chapman on Tuesday afternoon, “was not based on the merits of the issue and does not change the preceding decision of the Commonwealth Court in any manner.” Despite this, Chapman is still allowing updated ballots to be tallied.

Over a million mail-in ballots have been sought, and 5% of those have been returned, according to Chapman. Democrats make up the vast majority of voters who want mail-in votes, she claimed. In the most recent midterm elections, which took place in 2018, about 5 million Pennsylvanians cast ballots.

According to Chapman, the state is taking a more aggressive position against voter intimidation and will mandate that county officials report any intimidation that takes place at drop boxes. Some Republicans have falsely accused the boxes of encouraging fraud.

Sheriff’s deputies in Berks County have reportedly asked voters at drop boxes if they are returning their ballot or someone else’s in the past, according to Chapman. Pennsylvania law strictly prohibits returning someone else’s ballot, save for limited circumstances.

She expressed fear that voter intimidation might occur while law enforcement was present and when voters were being questioned at drop boxes. Because of that worry, many voters might not even decide to cast a ballot and submit it in.

Chapman was questioned about whether she was concerned that Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor who spearheaded the effort to challenge Pennsylvania’s election results in 2020 and who organised a massive poll watcher recruitment effort this fall, might use this year’s anticipated vote count delay to contest the results of his own race.

She remarked, “I don’t comment on what one candidate says or does, but my duty is to make sure that every eligible voter in Pennsylvania is registered to vote, can cast a ballot, and that the ballot is tallied.