“Pa. elections chief urges counties to begin counting mail-in ballots early Tuesday morning”


Boockvar’s comments come amid plans by some Pennsylvania counties to postpone counting of any mail-in ballots — whether they arrive before the polls close or after — until late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Pennsylvania law permits counties to begin counting mail-in and absentee votes beginning at 7 a.m. on Election Day but does not require that they do so immediately. Cumberland County, a Republican-leaning area outside of Harrisburg, indicated Wednesday that it would not begin counting mail-in ballots until Wednesday, citing a need to prioritize resources for in-person voting. Several other smaller counties have reportedly indicated they intend to delay counting of mail-in ballots.

The significance of the push-and-pull between the state and counties could have national significance. Both campaigns see Pennsylvania, with its 20 Electoral College votes, as potentially decisive; Trump won the state by just 44,292 votes in 2016, and Scranton native Joe Biden has stumped there extensively.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week determined opted against expediting a Republican challenge to the state’s high court’s decision to permit ballots arriving up to three days after Election Day to be counted, but Justice Samuel Alito, in a dissent, indicated the court may revisit the issue after the election. Newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett sat out that court’s move, but could represent a decisive fifth vote in either direction.

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