Without pre-canvassing in place, Election results could be delayed for days or even weeks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 22, 2020
HARRISBURG, Pa. – With the state General Assembly adjourning session until after the Nov. 3 General Election, and without lawmakers coming to agreement on pre-canvassing legislation that had bipartisan backing and the support of nearly every Pennsylvania county, VoteSafePennsylvania is reminding voters that a final tabulation of results could take days—a process that ensures every vote counts and that the final count is accurate.
Pre-canvassing is an administrative tool that would lessen the burden on county elections offices. Pre-canvassing allows counties to open envelopes, flatten and stack the ballots, and begin to scan the ballots, so results can be determined more quickly once tabulation begins on Election Day. It is not vote counting or early voting.
“It is not only disappointing that our Commonwealth has deliberately chosen not pass a pre-canvassing measure, but it’s irresponsible,” said co-chairman of VoteSafe Pennsylvania Patrick Murphy, former Congressman and Under Secretary of the U.S. Army. “It’s frustrating that our legislators, both Republican and Democrats, could not put their partisan differences aside to implement a measure that would support every single county election office in the Commonwealth and help voters know the results of the election quicker.”
According to the most recent state data, more than 2.8 million Pennsylvanians have requested mail-in ballots. During the primary, more than 1.4 million Pennsylvanians took advantage of mail-in and absentee ballots—making it the first time that mail-in votes surpassed in-person voting in Pennsylvania’s history.
Currently, all 67 counties in the state are not permitted to pre-canvass. Without pre-canvassing and dependent upon a county’s population and the number of mail-in ballots or absentee votes they receive, it could take county election offices hours or days to pre-canvass.
Because the state has not passed a pre-canvassing measure, counties will be forced to wait until Election Day morning to open envelopes and flatten and stack ballots. As a result, candidates running for local, state, and federal office, as well as voters, will not know the results of their own races for an undetermined amount of time.
About VoteSafe Pennsylvania
VoteSafe Pennsylvania is a bipartisan coalition comprised of community leaders, advocates, nonprofit organizations, former elected officials, and election experts who all want the same things—an efficient, accessible, secure mail-in ballot process and safe, in-person voting sites that ensure Pennsylvanians won’t have to risk their health for simply standing in line to vote. VoteSafe Pennsylvania is part of VoteSafe US, a national cross-partisan coalition of elections administrators and organizations that endorse the simple principle that every American has the right to vote safely amidst the pandemic. For more information, go to pa.votesafe.us.
Media Contact: Caitlin O’Connor