Only isolated issues amid high turnout and COVID-19 precautions
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar reported that today's presidential election in Pennsylvania saw no widespread significant problems amid high turnout at the polls and more than 2.5 million mail ballots cast.
"We've heard a lot from the candidates in the last year, but today it was time for the people to speak," Governor Wolf said. "I'm proud of how Pennsylvanians conducted themselves in this historic election during a global pandemic. And I'm proud that democracy is alive and well in the commonwealth. This election elicited an apparent record in voter registration in Pennsylvania and impressively high turnout today at the polls as well as in mail ballot voting."
Voter registration exceeded 9 million by the deadline to register to vote in today's election. More than 2.5 million mail ballots were cast, up from about 1.5 million in the primary. This is the first general election in Pennsylvania where voters could vote by mail ballot without having to provide an excuse. The Department of State will have an unofficial estimate of turnout at the polls in a few days.
"County election officials, poll workers and voters efficiently and peacefully carried out today's election amid the biggest reforms to voting in the commonwealth in 80 years," Secretary Boockvar said. "They embraced the new mail-in ballot option and safely voted at the polls.
The Department of State's election response team responded to and monitored issues reported throughout the day, including late-opening polling places, which happens in every election, lines at the polls, and some confusion over the use of provisional ballots, which were used in higher numbers today because some voters who applied for mail ballots chose to vote at the polls instead. A few counties ran low on provisional ballots or regular ballots but were able to replenish their supply.
By the time polls closed at 8 p.m., Department of State staff and volunteers from other state agencies had answered more than 5,000 calls received via the commonwealth's voter help line (1-877-VOTESPA). Most callers asked if they were registered to vote or needed assistance locating their polling place.
Boockvar noted that Pennsylvania has 9,152 polling places staffed by about 45,000 poll workers.
"This election's true heroes are the poll workers who kept the polling places open and safe for the millions of Pennsylvanians who voted today and the county election officials who have been working incredibly hard all year to implement the voting reforms," Secretary Boockvar said.
Secretary Boockvar predicted that the overwhelming majority of ballots will be counted within a few days. She noted that the ballot count is never finished, much less official, on election night.
"If we stopped counting ballots tonight, we would disenfranchise countless numbers of military and civilian overseas voters whose ballots, by law, must be accepted up to seven days after the election," she said. "I don't think anyone wants to deny the men and women who are serving our country, nor the millions more civilian voters who voted by mail, their constitutional right to vote."
The Department of State provides
election returns showing votes cast by mail and in person as counts are received from each county. Additionally, the new dashboard at
votesPA.com/Counting provides the numbers of mail and absentee ballots cast, counted, and remaining to be counted in each county; the in-person precincts counted; and provisional ballot counts, once those begin to be counted.
CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621