In this modern day and age of rapidly-advancing technology, one would think that states finally have their Election Day processes honed into a smooth and efficient process. For many states, that’s an accurate assessment.
Not so much, though, in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that seems to have problems with processing and counting ballots more often than not. According to WITF-FM, Pennsylvania acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman held a virtual news conference Monday and explained that the upcoming election would be no different.
Chapman rattled off several reasons why she believes results will not be immediately available on Election Night, and curiously reassured viewers that the delay doesn’t mean “nefarious” actions are taking place.
“It’s really important for us to get accurate information about the election process in Pennsylvania,” Chapman said. “So voters and the public know that when there are delays in counting, it doesn’t mean that there’s anything nefarious happening. It’s just what the law is in Pennsylvania.”
She said one of the goals of the press conference was to stop the spread of misinformation as Nov. 8 approaches.
Chapman also spoke about “threats” that have caused her office to work closely with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. However, she failed to elaborate on specifics regarding the threats, though she vowed to pursue any threats against workers.
“Since I’ve been in office in January, we have constantly met with the FBI and Homeland Security just to talk through what the current threat landscape is and tools that we can give our counties to make sure that they have physical security protection, as well as cyber security protection,” Chapman said.
“So it’s been great to partner with both the federal and state law enforcement organizations. We are in constant communication with them, and it’s a situation that we are monitoring.”
Chapman also explained that, unlike most other states, Pennsylvania law doesn’t allow mail-in ballots to be pre-canvassed, meaning that election workers can only begin to open the ballots for processing on the morning of Election Day.
“So, election workers in our 67 counties can only start opening mail-in ballots at 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Election Day, and that includes opening them from the inner-secrecy envelope, the outer envelope, flattening them, and scanning them,” Chapman explained. “Starting at 8:00 p.m. when the polls close, that’s when counties can release the results. So it takes time.”
Chapman indicated that Pennsylvania voters requested 1.3 million mail-in ballots, and “about half” of those ballots have been returned, so far.
According to the Observer-Reporter, some Pennsylvania counties are more optimistic about revealing the results on Election Night, including Washington County Elections Director Melanie Ostrander, who said her team of 15 workers would more than likely be ready to announce results that night.
“The system we have in place we’ve had since November 2020 … and I’m confident that we’ll have the vast majority of mail-in and absentee results by 8 p.m.,” Ostrander said.
It’ll be the most populous counties, like Allegheny and Philadelphia, where the longest ballot counting delays are likely to occur.
The reaction to Chapman’s interview on social media was met with outrage and frustration, with a common sentiment being that in 2022, there’s simply no reason that a state like Pennsylvania, or any other state for that matter, shouldn’t be able to return results in a reasonable amount of time — if not on Election Night.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly, controlled by a Republican majority, needs to get on the ball and work overtime to modernize the state’s election counting process, or it’ll once again risk sparking mistrust, confusion and anger within the general population and, this year, the entire country.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.