PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Election day is seven weeks from Tuesday and there’s already a delay in Pennsylvania. County procedures to mail ballots to voters are currently on hold and it’s unclear when things will get settled.
Monday was the first day any county across the state could have started mailing out ballots, but that couldn’t happen because a decision in front of the state Supreme Court has to happen before the ballots can even be printed.
“Because of the Pennsylvania Democrat’s lawsuit, we have no idea when we can even tell people when they’ll start expecting their ballot,” said Democratic Member of the Allegheny County Board of Elections Bethany Hallam.
She’s talking about the state Democratic Party’s battle to keep the Green party off the ballot, causing a delay in its certification.
“We could have, for weeks now, been preparing at the county level, printing the ballots while we are processing applications, getting everything to go ahead of time so that come today when we are allowed to first start sending out the ballots, we’d already have everything prepared,” said Hallam.
More Pennsylvanians than ever before are expected to vote by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hallam said as of last week, more than 200,000 people in Allegheny County alone have applied to vote by mail.
”There’s no reason the courts — they understand the deadline we are under but yet here we are, 50 days before tomorrow and can’t send out ballots,” said Republican Member of the Allegheny County Board of Elections.
Even once the dispute over the Green Party is settled, sending out ballots doesn’t happen overnight. They’ll still need to be printed, mailed to voters, then returned. The deadline for getting your ballot returned is 8 p.m. on Election Day.
So here’s the big question: when the process will get moving again?
“We have an open court case here. We have no idea when it will be resolved. So we have no idea when we can mail these ballots out,” said DeMarco.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas checked with the state Supreme Court to see if there’s an update on the timeline for the case and was told they don’t have one.
Once everything is settled, Allegheny County expects it will take less than a week for ballots to be printed and then go out in the mail, but that also depends on what changes need to be made.