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transcript

Will Every Vote Count in Pennsylvania?

The day after Election Day, the count continues across Pennsylvania. But the rules are still in dispute, and legal battles raise questions about whether every vote will be counted.

The election in Pennsylvania is still far from over, with legal teams and counties across the state arguing over the technicalities. “Certain ballots are coming back naked, meaning that they lack their internal privacy sleeve.” And in Pennsylvania, that means they get rejected. “I’m opening up the initial envelope for them to open up to see if there’s any naked ballot or not.” “The Democratic party plans to contact them and provide the resources necessary for them to be able to vote in person today. Because otherwise they’ll be disenfranchised.” Republicans filed a lawsuit late Tuesday objecting to any attempts to correct naked ballots. “It is my understanding that it is not permitted, based on a ruling by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and I’ll leave that up to the lawyers who are in court fighting about that to determine what to do about it.” But this is just one of the many legal battles over mail ballots. “As the election starts moving over to the mail system, new things start becoming issues and all these things become cause for really hard-fought court cases.” Ballots are still being counted the day after the election in Lancaster. “So what you’re seeing right now are racks of mail ballots that had been received Monday and Tuesday and are going to be opened here today. And then scanned in.” More are expected between now and Friday. Ballots postmarked by Election Day, but delivered late by the United States Postal Service. What isn’t clear yet is whether they’ll be counted. “The law says that they basically won’t be counted, if they came in by 8:00. What the PA Supreme Court says as long as they’re postmarked or even if there’s not a postmark, then they should be counted. That was challenged to the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court said that it’s a little late right now. We’re not going to expedite that decision on that, but we will make a decision after the election. So we’re just sticking those mail ballots aside. And so either the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision, or we can actually then go ahead and scan them.” “That sounds very confusing.” “Yes. Hello.” Not all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are handling the uncertainty the same way. In Lehigh County, they’re taking the time to scan the ballots and keeping a separate tally until the lawsuits are resolved. “We will be receiving ballots all week long. And we time-stamp them when we receive them to make sure we know exactly when they were received by our office.” The confusion has put Pennsylvania in the spotlight in a way that has some officials feeling déjà vu. “You can see the potential for Pennsylvania to be like Florida in 2000, where the eyes of the nation are on us. We don’t have the hanging chad issue. But we have the issue of ballots coming in for three days after the election. We have the issue of naked ballots. I was worried about what would happen. And maybe some of that is coming true. We’ll see as we get further into this.”

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