Fear of mail-in vote mishap stir in Pennsylvania

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvanians are mailing it in, and in record numbers. 1.5 million opted for snail mail for the June primary.

Commonwealth Sec. Kathy Boockvar is optimistic of the mail-in surge.

“In the last presidential primary 84,000, across the state — so 17 times more,” she said of the recent increase. “People like this method of voting. It’s safe. It’s secure. It’s easy. It’s convenient, so they’re going to be using it.”

The postal service doesn’t seem to give the process a stamp of approval though. It says it can’t guarantee that ballots will be delivered on time from voters who apply at the deadline.

The Wolf administration appealed for the state Supreme Court to allow ballots postmarked by election day be counted after election day.

“If you’re receiving votes after election day that’s a no-go. Votes have to be received by election day,” says Rep. Andrew Lewis (R- Dauphin).

Lewis is on the House’s State Government Committee; he says he wants the sanctity of the election day preserved. “Ensuring that there’s not this perception that there’s funny business happening.”

Election officials say one solution that wouldn’t push the counting past election day is moving up the deadline to apply for a mail-in, which is currently Oct. 27.

They believe having an earlier deadline, such as Oct. 19, would leave enough time to sort things out in the mail.

Lewis is confident that change will be passed before November. He also supports a change to allow the processing — but not counting — of mail in ballots before election day.

The commonwealth secretary believes the process is perhaps more simple than should be feared.

“Literally pull all of the material out of the ballots, flatten, and on election day all they need to do is be fed through the scanners,” Boockvar said.

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