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Pa. ballot canvassing rules could delay election results

The Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth has reported that a full vote tally could take a few days to complete.

YORK, Pa. — Ahead of Tuesday's primary, county election offices are beginning to receive mail-in and absentee ballots. Mail-in voting remains a popular option to Pennsylvanian voters, as election offices have been collecting ballots by the thousands.

"Voters requested over 807,000 mail-in ballots and 103,000 absentee ballots. Combined that’s over 910,000 mail ballot requests," said Leigh Chapman, acting Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Despite many residents already turning in their ballots, their votes will not be counted until Tuesday.

Since voting by mail was implemented, Pennsylvania remains one of a few states that does not allow pre-canvassing of mail ballots. In contrast, 37 states across the US do permit mail ballot pre-canvassing in order to speed up the vote counting.

Election officials in Pennsylvania have to wait until 7:00AM on Tuesday to begin counting mail ballots.

"Because of that, we’re expecting a few days for counties to count every vote," explained Chapman.

In York County, over 29,000 voters requested mail-in ballots for Tuesday's primary--half of which were already delivered back to the county. Despite the report from the Department of State, York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler believes election results won't be delayed in her county.

"I am cautiously that we will, once again, have all of our ballots counted on Election Day," proclaimed Wheeler.

Wheeler says York County election officials have not had issues with canvassing ballots in the past few years. She says the election officials have a plan established to get all ballots collected and counted on time.

"We know how many ballots came in, we know how long it takes to open envelopes," explained Wheeler. "A simple time study really gives us the data that we need on how many staff are needed to get those ballots opened.”

With party nominations for major races up for grabs, Leigh Chapman encourages voters to remain patient as the votes are tallied next week.

"We have to make sure that the process plays out," said Chapman. "We have to let county election directors and election officials do their job.”

Voters must have their mail ballots turned in by 8:00PM on Tuesday for their votes to count.

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