Election officials in Pennsylvania expect delayed results for the November general election since counties are still not allowed to open and scan mail-in votes before 7 a.m. on Election Day.
However, Pennsylvania acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman assured reporters during a virtual press conference on Tuesday that “this delay does not mean anything nefarious is happening.” She continued, “It simply means that the process is working as it’s designed to work in Pennsylvania and that election officials are doing their job to count every vote.”
Donald Trump, the former president, and his allies utilized the lengthy recount after the 2020 general election to throw doubt on the results and bolster speculative charges of voter fraud. Chapman, however, noted that a longer wait reflected regional efforts to thoroughly tally up results in the days following the election for the U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, and legislative races.
“It is reasonable that [a] thorough, accurate tally of all ballots will require several days’ worth of work,” she stated.
Before election day, Pennsylvanians have until October 24 to register or amend their voter registration. The deadline to request an absentee or mail-in ballot is November 1.
As of Tuesday, more than 1 million voters had requested mail-in ballots, with Democrats accounting for 766,029 requests and Republicans for 178,324. Data from the Department of State indicates a 4.6 percent return rate, with 52,522 returned mail-in and absentee ballots. According to Chapman, the data is accessible online and will be updated every day.
Additionally, Chapman stated that the Department of State anticipates a dramatic increase in the number of requests in the final weeks before the deadline of November 1. As long as counties “continue without interruption” until the count is over, they would receive $45 million in fresh election financing, according to an earlier deal between the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Legislature and the Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.
Act 88, a reform, allows counties discretion over how to spend the money, enabling local officials to spend it on new machinery or hiring more employees to support continuous counting. The Act prohibits counties from taking private funding for election administration in addition to the election grants, a change that Republicans proposed after the 2020 election.
Chapman applauded the increase in financing, but she pointed out that the reform does not take into account the pre-canvassing requests made by local election workers.
“As a result, we must again ask for patience,” Chapman stated. “Election workers must be given a reasonable amount of time to do their jobs thoroughly.”
Unofficial results are anticipated to be made public “within a few days” of the election, according to the Department of State. Chapman added, “An accurate count of all eligible votes is paramount, and it cannot be rushed.”
A statistical sampling mandated by law and a risk-limiting audit were both carried out following the 2020 election in Pennsylvania. The risk-limiting audit experiment involved 63 of the 67 counties in the commonwealth, and neither audit discovered any indication of fraud.
This year, in addition to the statistical sample, the Department of State instructed each county to execute a post-election, pre-certification risk-limiting audit to corroborate the outcomes.
Don’t expect the results of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 election to be available on election night, or even the next day, Secretary of State Leigh Chapman said Monday.
— One United Lancaster (@oneunitedlanc) October 24, 2022
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