Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman outlined the vote-counting process for the Nov. 8 general election and explained why under current election law unofficial results will be available within a few days of the election.
“We understand that voters, candidates and the media want election results as soon as possible. But counting all the eligible votes and reporting the results take time, and counties are rightfully focused on accuracy over speed,” Chapman said.
Before mail ballots can be scanned and counted, they must be removed from their envelopes and prepared for scanning. Under Pennsylvania law, counties cannot begin this pre-canvassing of mail ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. County election officials and the Wolf Administration support earlier pre-canvassing, but that would require legislative approval.
“I want to emphasize that, throughout voting and pre-canvassing, people serving in specific roles observe the integrity of the process,” Chapman said. “Specifically, poll watchers can be present during in-person voting, and authorized representatives who have been chosen by candidates and political parties can be present during the pre-canvassing and canvassing of mail-in and absentee ballots.”
Chapman also noted the deadline to apply for a mail ballot is Nov. 1.