“Wolf, Republicans at odds over Pennsylvania election law”


Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican state lawmakers remained at odds Thursday over how to update Pennsylvania’s voting laws to handle an expected avalanche of mail-in ballots in November’s presidential election in the battleground state, even as Philadelphia moved ahead with an ambitious election plan.

Wolf, a Democrat, laid down several markers for what he is seeking, following a June 2 primary election that saw thousands of mailed-in ballots arrive after the Election Day-deadline and counting in some areas drag on for days, if not more than a week.

With partisans suing to win favorable court-ordered changes, Wolf and Republicans who control the Legislature are clashing over how to prevent vast numbers of ballots from being discarded and how to head off the specter of a presidential election result hanging in limbo on a drawn-out vote count in Pennsylvania.

In part, Wolf called for lawmakers to allow counties to begin processing mail-in ballots three weeks before the election and to require them to count ballots that arrive up to three days after the Nov. 3 election, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day….

Republicans, for now, oppose counting mail-in ballots that arrive after the election. To minimize late-arriving ballots, Senate Republicans are seeking to shorten the deadline to request a mail-in ballot, from one week to 15 days before the election. Democrats oppose that.

Instead of allowing ballot processing to start 21 days before the election, Senate Republicans support a three-day head start. House Republicans said they will take action on yet-to-be published legislation next week that bears similarities to a Senate GOP bill introduced Monday.

Without action, courts may settle some of these issues.

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