Ned Foley oped:
Without wading into the details of Pennsylvania’s procedures for permitting challenges to mailed ballots, and appeals from denials of those challenges, there is a risk that those challenges and appeals could bog the process down to the point of endangering the state’s ability to meet the Dec. 8, or even Dec. 14, deadline.
The best way to reduce this risk is for Pennsylvania’s legislature to enact a law, as other states have (including Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia), that requires vote-counting procedures in a presidential election to be complete by the federal “safe harbor” date. This kind of explicit law would both obligate and empower officials to expedite challenges and appeals as necessary to finish on time.
Pennsylvania’s legislature is currently considering revisions to its ballot-counting rules to speed up the process. One change would permit the “pre-canvassing” of mailed ballots before election day. That’s a good move, but it’s not sufficient to eliminate the risk of missing the December deadlines. Instead, the legislature should supplement this sensible measure with the added requirement that none of the state’s various vote-counting procedures—not recounts, ballot challenges, or otherwise—may be permitted to deprive Pennsylvania of the congressionally promised “safe harbor” status.
Pennsylvania’s legislature should enact this measure for the sake of the state’s own voters. In doing so, it would make the presidential election go more smoothly for the benefit of the whole nation.