‘A healthy democracy depends on widespread participation’: Pa. elections chief says as Nov. 8 approaches

Produced By: - October 31, 2022 3:06 pm

State officials are doing everything they can to ensure a safe and secure election on Nov. 8, Pennsylvania’s top election official said Monday. But those same officials continue to fight election misinformation as the critical midterm elections approach.

“Transparency and confidence is the objective of the election process in Pennsylvania,” acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman said Monday, as she addressed the monthly Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in downtown Harrisburg.

As she has in other public appearances this fall campaign season, Chapman told a mixed crowd of journalists, business leaders, and advocates that it likely will take several days for results to be tallied in scores of races, including the high-profile contests for U.S. Senate and Pennsylvania’s governor’s office.

That’s because county elections officials aren’t allowed to open and begin processing the hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots expected to be cast this election cycle until 7 a.m. on Election Day morning. They cannot start counting the ballots until after the polls close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.

Elections workers “do all they can to accurately and thoroughly count every vote,” Chapman said, dismissing conspiracy theories that the delay of  “several days” indicates that something “nefarious” is happening.

The Democratic Wolf administration continues to hope that lawmakers will approve a 15-day “pre-canvassing” window as it’s known, Chapman said, which would give county officials more time to process ballots, thus streamlining the vote count.

The state has received 1.4 million applications for ballots. And through Monday, about 61 percent of those ballots had been completed and returned. And more yet may be received before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline to apply for a ballot, Chapman said. Chapman urged those applying for a ballot by the deadline to forgo mailing them and instead hand-deliver them to their local county election office or deposit them in a dropbox.

You can find your county election office here and a list of drop-off locations here. Ballots must absolutely be returned no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, Chapman said.

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John L. Micek
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.

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