No matter which side you support, elections need to be better-run than this.
Pennsylvania voters lined up for hours last night to fix voided mail-in and absentee ballots in a last-ditch effort to sway one of the closest races in the country between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz.
At Philadelphia City Hall, voters lined up for three hours to ensure their votes would be counted after a Supreme Court ruling last week canceled 3,800 mail-in and absentee ballots across the state.
Republicans have sued all over the country to cancel mailed votes that do not have dates written on their envelopes.
In Pennsylvania, it resulted in nearly 4,000 early votes being canceled just as Fetterman and Oz came close to being neck-and-neck; a Monday night poll puts Oz ahead by 0.1.
The race is one that will go towards deciding whether the Democrats hold or Republicans retake the Senate by Wednesday morning.
But the issues and potential of litigation from both sides if the results are close suggests the results could not be known for days like in the 2020 presidential election, or event months.
The Department of State said it was unclear just how many ballots are at issue across the state.
The agency over the weekend asked counties to provide the numbers, broken down by political party. Officials said some counties were not letting voters fix their mistakes.
Ahead of Tuesday’s midterms, more than a million mail-in and absentee ballots have already been returned in Pennsylvania, with Democrats far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail. The numbers are large enough that they might matter in a close race, such as the contest between Oz and Fetterman.
Fetterman’s campaign has already warned that their won’t be a result on Wednesday and has urged his supporters to wait until all ‘eligible’ results are counted.
The Pennsylvania litigation was filed by Republican groups and is among legal efforts by both parties in multiple states to have courts sort out disputes over voting rules and procedures ahead of the midterm election.
A new federal lawsuit over the envelope dates was filed Monday in Pittsburgh federal court by the national congressional and senatorial Democratic campaign organizations, two Democratic voters and Fetterman’s U.S. Senate campaign.
A separate filed Friday makes a similar argument. In Wisconsin, the Republican chair of the state Assembly´s elections committee, along with a veterans group and other voters, filed a lawsuit Friday seeking a court order requiring the sequestering of thousands of ballots in the battleground state. The lawsuit seeks a temporary injunction requiring elections officials in Wisconsin to set aside military ballots so their authenticity can be verified. The court had taken no action by Monday morning.
Litigation is pending in the rural border community of Cochise County, Arizona, challenging a Republican effort to count ballots by hand.
The lawsuit aims to stop the county board of supervisors from expanding what is normally a small hand tally used to verify machines´ accuracy to include all early ballots and all Election Day ballots as well.
A challenge against voting by absentee ballot was thrown out Monday after a judge ruled that a Republican candidate for secretary of state ‘failed dramatically’ to produce any evidence of violations in the majority-Black city.
Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of state, Leigh Chapman, on Monday urged mail-in voters who think they may have made technical errors to contact their county elections offices. If the county won’t let them fix the problem, they should go to their local polling place on Tuesday and request a provisional ballot, she said.
In Allentown, Lehigh County officials reached out to all the voters they could locate whose ballots have problems, election director Tim Benyo said Monday. He said there are a few hundred ballots at issue.
‘People have been very interested in curing their ballots,’ Benyo said. ‘We´ve been busy.’
Allegheny County elections officials posted online the names and birth years of voters who have sent in ballots in envelopes that either lack any date or are dated outside the permissible range of Sept. 19-Nov. 8 for mail-in ballots and Aug. 30-Nov. 8 for absentee ballots.
Those voters can fix their ballots in person at the elections office Monday or Tuesday or vote provisionally at their regular polling places.
Allegheny reported that, as of Sunday, more than 600 incorrectly and nearly 400 undated ballots had arrived to be counted. Philadelphia said it has received about 2,000 undated ballots and several hundred more that appear to have been incorrectly dated.
Philadelphia Deputy Commissioner Nick Custodio said the court decision last week and the tide of ballots rolling in ahead of Election Day has made it difficult to issue direct notifications.
‘So far we have only been able to put out a list on our website, but we are exploring whatever other options are available given the short time-period,’ Custodio said.