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Why the nation may be waiting on Pennsylvania on Election Night

"I would very happy to know who won Pennsylvania by Thanksgiving," a consultant says.
Why the nation may be waiting on Pennsylvania on Election Night
Posted at 4:27 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 18:25:32-04

On Election Night, voters from around the country will sit on the couches, grab their iPads and start paying attention to the results.

While we have already profiled why results will likely take awhile this year, perhaps no state is better situated to have delayed results than Pennsylvania.

WHY PA RESULTS MAY TAKE WEEKS

Joe Corrigan, a political consultant in Philadelphia, says with a record number of voters voting by mail, combined with state rules regarding when ballots can be counted, results will take time.

"We are seeing about 10 to 15 thousand mail-in ballots requested a day (in Pennsylvania)," Corrigan said.

These ballot requests are overwhelming elections offices across the state.

"Pennsylvania law prohibits county boards of elections from counting any absentee ballots or mail-in ballots until 8 p.m. on Election Day when polls close," Corrigan added.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Thursday that ballots can arrive until 5 p.m. ET on the Friday after the election and still count. The ballots do have to be postmarked on or before Election Day to be counted.

That doesn't even begin to take into account the state is using relatively new in-person voting machines.

"I would very happy to know who won Pennsylvania by Thanksgiving," Corrigan said.

WHAT IS BEING DONE

Election officials know they have pending issues.

In Bucks County, a suburban Philadelphia county, elections officials this week have been busy installing a $250,000 counting machine they have nicknamed "the dragon."

The machine was purchased using CARES funds and is capable of sorting 24,000 ballots per hour.

"The thing that slows us down the most is actually the fact you have to open two envelopes," Bob Harvie, an elections commissioner, said.

"We are already planning to have 24-hour shifts," Harvie added.