This is the first time that Pennsylvanians have been able to vote by mail without an excuse in a general election. In early June, fears of contracting COVID-19 on the ballot increased postal ballot numbers much higher than expected, with some districts taking up to two weeks to count their votes – and the final count changed the outcome of the other 10 races on the ballot.
Postal votes take longer to count than those sent in person. The process involves verifying signatures, opening two envelopes and scanning ballots, while ballots are recorded digitally by voting machines and backed up on paper.
Local authorities He asked The state legislature allows some processes to begin before election day, which would have significantly reduced the pressure. Even before the COVID-19 was recommended, the legislature had already voted to expand the mail-in vote in late 2019. Despite bipartisan support for Canvassing in advance, state GOP lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement with Democrat Governor Tom Wolf.
Now, at least seven districts Word They will not begin opening postal ballots until Nov. 4, so individual votes on election day are expected to be Republican, counting before postal ballots in favor of Biden.
Early unofficial results suggest that Mr Trump will win by the end of the election, as postal ballots will be processed after a direct vote on November 4, while Biden will have to wait to close the gap until the postal vote count is calculated. .
Another factor is the decision of the state Supreme Court Stretch The deadline for districts to accept returned mail by post three days after Election Day is November 3, unless a postal sign is displayed. The verdict came after the postal service Warned The state’s top election official said the ballots could not be cast and returned within the state election deadline. Primary, 100,000 postal votes Has arrived In district offices after the election.
The U.S. Supreme Court may overrule the state Supreme Court Denied A resolution from the Pennsylvania GOP to overturn a state court ruling and expedite its appeal.
“I am reluctant to conclude that there is not enough time on this late date to decide the question before the election,” wrote Supreme Court Judge Samuel Alito. “However, the state court ruling does not mean it should escape our review.”
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Republicans and the districts are ordered not to count the late votes, the late votes must be split.
Pennsylvania also faces another potential problemVoters should be provided with two envelopes with a mail ballot, one marked on the outer post and an inner secret envelope to protect the ballot from being damaged.
Some voters did not notice the secret envelopes during the primary period, and most districts counted their votes anyway. State law did not explicitly say that ballots without a secret envelope should be rejected, and that districts were advised to count naked votes. But in September the state Supreme Court ruled that “the only way to be sure that no fraud has taken place is to reject all naked votes,” which is expected to affect Democrats proportionally as they are expected to vote by mail at a higher rate than Republicans. .