(The Center Square) – With just one week to go until Election Day, Pennsylvania officials are promising accurate results, even though it will likely take days – not hours – to tally all the votes.
Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told reporters Tuesday that postal delays and no ability to prep the 1 million absentee ballots already returned to county election offices means ensuring a fair election will extend beyond Nov. 3. Both encouraged voters who have yet to mail their ballots to instead drop off their votes with local officials.
“I encourage all Pennsylvanians to be patient,” Wolf said. “We deserve to have a fair election. All votes will be counted and the numbers will be accurate – it will just take little longer than usual.”
The anticipated delay comes as Pennsylvania rises in prominence among swing states targeted by both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. The president carried the state – the first Republican to flip its 20 electoral votes since Ronald Reagan – by fewer than 50,000 votes in 2016.
State lawmakers compounded the stakes after failing to broker an agreement on election reforms with the governor in time to affect this year’s contest. Republican leaders said the administration ignored their concerns about how extended mail-in deadlines and drop boxes undermined election security, while Wolf argues that disagreements about pre-canvassing and poll watchers unraveled the deal.
Last week, the Supreme Court turned away state GOP leaders seeking a reversal in a lower court ruling that upheld the administration’s decision to count ballots received as late as Nov. 6. The leaders reportedly requested an expedited appeal on the decision on Monday, shortly before Amy Coney Barrett's swearing-in ceremony. At least one county board of elections has asked the new justice to recuse herself in the case, so far.
“You should feel enormously proud of the accuracy and integrity of our elections, no matter how you vote,” Boockvar said. “If you don’t have to mail it, don’t mail it. Just drop it off. We all know there’s mail delays. Just do it. I don’t want voters to worry about what the courts will or won’t do. Just bring it in.”