National Republicans accuse Wolf of ‘overreach’ with order extending mail-in ballot deadline for six Pa. counties

    In another sure sign that it’s Election Day, the press releases are flying fast and furiously.

    In an emailed statement, the Republican National Committee has accused Gov. Tom Wolf of overreaching with the executive order he signed Monday giving six Pennsylvania counties until June 9 to count an expected flood of mail-in ballots.

    Speaking to journalists in Philadelphia on Monday, Wolf cited COVID-19 concerns and continued protests as his reason for extending that deadline, the Capital-Star’s Cassie Miller reported. The impacted counties are Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

    In a statement, RNC spokesperson Melissa Reed accused Wolf of violating a state Supreme Court decision requiring mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day. The action, brought by a disability rights’ group, sought to have ballots post-marked by Election Day considered valid.

    With the order, Reed charged that “it seems as if … Wolf is completely ignoring the bipartisan 2019 election law that was agreed to in order to allow no-excuse as well as the court decisions that have ruled in favor of Republicans in the following weeks.

    Reed said Republicans want “everyone to have the opportunity to vote, but we have an Election Day for a reason. Postponing this deadline would require county election offices to verify ballots for weeks after the election, potentially delaying the outcome and opening the door for unnecessary litigation.”

    In a statement, Ken Kroski, a spokesperson for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, said “there are a number of unprecedented circumstances that have changed the way this primary election is conducted, including new voting machines, increased mail-in ballots, COVID-19, and the disaster emergency declaration in six counties and resulting executive order to extend the deadline for absentee mail-in ballots.”

    County officials “continue to remain focused on assuring the integrity and accuracy of every vote in every race in today’s election and will continue their efforts until all the ballots are properly counted,” Kroski said

    John L. Micek
    A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press