PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hopes of speeding up Pennsylvania’s vote count by allowing hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots to be opened before Election Day are fading. The governor and legislative leaders are blaming each other for the impasse.
Montgomery County officials say as of Saturday, they’ve processed more than 240,000 ballot applications and they have nearly 52,000 back already. But Pennsylvania counties can’t start opening those envelopes until 7 a.m. Election Day.
They had asked the state legislature to give them up to three weeks to start prepping ballots to count, but while a bill passed the House, it’s been stuck in a state Senate committee for about a month and a half.
Gov. Tom Wolf said he tried to work with GOP leaders in the House and Senate to reach an agreement.
“We had conversations, they didn’t lead anywhere and I understand the House Republicans put out a press release a few minutes ago saying that’s dead, so I’m taking them at their word,” Wolf said.
In that press release, House GOP spokesman Jason Gottesman said Wolf threatened to veto bipartisan legislation passed by the House that addressed precanvassing and other elections issues.
Gottesman accuses the governor of showing “little willingness to move away from his party’s wish list.”
Montgomery County officials won’t guess how long it will take to open and count ballots, but they, and other counties, say they will be working 24-hour days until every vote is counted.