Early voting underway in Pa.; election officials working towards quicker results on election night

Thursday, October 15, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

2020 ELECTION: Pennsylvania election officials say so far, roughly 20% of the more than 2.6 million ballots that have mailed out have been returned.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Early voting is well underway in Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, Action News found consistent lines at satellite centers in Philadelphia where voters can request, receive, fill out and drop off their ballot in one stop.

"Sealed in the envelope, dropping it off at the center, I don't have any worries about it," said Roxborough resident Anna Greenwald.

Greenwald requested her ballot be delivered, as many Pennsylvanians have through the mail. However, fears of delays has her visiting the center at Roxborough High School.

READ MORE: Vote 2020: Election Resources for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware

"We felt just a little more comfortable than dropping in the mailbox," she said.

Be it center, dropbox, or through the post office, state election officials say so far, roughly 20% of the more than 2.6 million ballots that have mailed out have been returned.

"I told you those numbers would increase a lot and they did," said Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar during a briefing.

Boockvar addressed concerns Wednesday afternoon over some problems reported at satellite centers, ballot delays, ballots arriving when they may not have been requested and how election boards plan to deal with the influx of mail ballots.

While some of those issues will be vetted independently, as far as the influx of ballots goes, Boockvar is hopeful with help from the legislature.

"We will be ready. I expect the counties to be in great shape, but would love to give them more time," she said.

Boockvar said the solution may lie in pre-canvassing ballots, allowing them to be sorted and ready for scanning ahead of Election Day.

READ MORE: Mail-in voting and 'naked ballots' in Pennsylvania: Here's what to know

Political experts say it could be crucial in helping declare a winner on or at least a few days after the election in the battleground state.

"Pennsylvania is one of if not the only battleground state that doesn't allow election officials to start that pre-canvassing until Election Day," said David Thornburgh, with the non-partisan election watchdog organization, Committee of Seventy.

Thornburgh said the reality is this election night may not be the one of years past.

"The watchword of the evening and for the days after is patience," said Thornburgh.