CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Mail-in ballots are the first received and last to be counted in Cumberland County this election year.
County officials said they won’t start processing those ballots until Nov. 4, the day after the election.
Cumberland County defended its decision Wednesday.
“Look, I’m gonna strongly urge every single county to start pre-canvassing the ballots on Election Day,” said Kathy Boockvar, secretary of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Strong urgings aside, Cumberland County is moving forward with its plan to begin counting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, even though they are allowed to begin at 7 a.m. on Election Day.
The county released a statement that said:
“This affords county officials the ability to concentrate on the smooth operation of our polling places and to ensure that appropriate COVID-19 precautions are in place at all polling locations for the safety of our residents and poll workers.”
“It’s going to take awhile, and the sooner they start, they sooner they finish,” Boockvar said.
The state isn’t alone in its concerns.
“It’s not distrust in our county or our county’s election boards. For me, it’s distrust in the president,” said Sean Crampsie, (D) Carlisle councilmember.
Earlier Wednesday, President Trump was quoted saying that he hopes states that count ballots after Election Day will be stopped by various courts.
“So, I think the fear is the longer you wait — or if you don’t start canvassing on Election Day and those ballots aren’t opened — is there a potential for an injunction,” Crampsie said.
Which means there’s potential for mass confusion, especially in a battleground state like Pennsylvania. In the meantime, officials are urging voters to stay calm and trust the process.
“You may see numbers on the website on Tuesday, if they do change throughout the week…and days after the election, that’s not fraud. That’s not anyone messing with the election. That’s just votes being counted,” Crampsie said.
“The dedication and integrity of election officials across the Commonwealth is simply unparalleled,” Boockvar said.
Cumberland County isn’t alone. Franklin and Erie have also said they will wait until the day after Election Day.