Pennsylvania says votes arriving up to three days after election will be counted

Pennsylvania says votes arriving up to three days after election will be counted


Pennsylvania says votes arriving up to three days after election will be counted

Pennsylvania says votes arriving up to three days after election will be counted

Pennsylvania says votes arriving up to three days after election will be counted 1

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Officials in Pennsylvania said that they plan to count mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after Election Day on 3 November, so long as they are mailed by that day.

The change in policy was prompted by a letter sent to the state by the US Postal Service explaining it could not guarantee the timely delivery of ballots to voters ahead of the 2020 US election under the current deadline.

“Ballots mailed by voters on or before 8pm on Election Day will be counted if they are otherwise valid and received by the county board of election on or before the third day following the election,” the Department of State said in a court document.


According to the court filing, officials in Pennsylvania had been in discussions with the post office for months leading up to the June 2020 primaries, and had been assured the usual turnaround time would remain consistent heading into November.

“Department of State officials were in close contact with representatives of the Postal Service in the months leading up to the June 2020 primary election, and were not given any reason to expect that delivery of first-class mail take longer than the typical one to three business day,” the document said.

Thomas Marshall, the general counsel and executive vice president of the USPS, warned the state on 29 July that there was a “risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them.”

Slowdowns at the USPS have only been exacerbated in recent days, as reports suggest that mail sorting machines have been removed from post offices and destroyed.

In addition, an order initiated by the Trump-appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, changed the postal service’s daily workflow, making sorting less efficient and thus slower. He has also denied overtime for postal workers. Mr DeJoy donated to Donald Trump‘s campaign and has no experience relevant to his position.

Friday, reports from Eugene and Portland, Oregon suggested several mailboxes were removed from the cities. Post Office officials said the removals were a result of declining first-class mail use due to the pandemic, though

Mr Trump has plainly stated his intentions to hobble the nation’s postal service in an effort to stop widespread mail-in voting, which he believes will hurt his chances at re-election.

During an interview with Fox News Business, Mr Trump admitted that one of the sticking points behind a breakdown in negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the latest coronavirus stimulus package was the inclusion by Democrats of $25bn in funding allocated for the postal service and an additional $3.6bn for states to use to hold elections.

Mr Trump said his administration wouldn’t agree to it because the funding would support vote-by-mail efforts, which he opposes.

“They need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Mr Trump said. “If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

In Pennsylvania, at least, it appears the state will make adjustments to its election rules in order to compensate for the needs of the postal service.

Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer involved in the state’s lawsuit to ensure late-arriving votes are counted, said the expansion was a victory for voter access.

“Let’s be clear. This is one of our biggest priorities for the November election,” Mr Elias said. “Millions of Pennsylvania voters – many of whom will cast their ballot by mail for the first time – now won’t have to worry about their ballot not counting due to mail delays.”


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