Pennsylvania gears up for days of counting ballots as polls close

Posted at 11:06 AM, Nov 03, 2020

With 20 electoral votes at stake, all eyes will be on Pennsylvania on Election Day. However, officials warn that counting the ballots could take days.

In Bucks County, a heavily populated suburban county near Philadelphia has a population of about 628,000 people.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the county by a narrow lead with a few thousand votes. This time around, both presidential campaigns have been courting the suburban vote, and the suburban Philadelphia counties are considered critical.

Polls across the state closed at 8 p.m. EST, and now the more than 2 million mail-in ballots the state has received can now be counted.

“We sent out about 200,000 ballots, which is 10 times more than we did four years ago, and we've gotten back somewhere in the area 160,000,” said Bob Harvie, Bucks County, Pennsylvania Board of Elections Chairman. “We still have mail coming in obviously today that we can accept. We had U.P.S. dropping off some ballots. We've got drop boxes that will be emptied at 8, and those will be brought here, and we don't know how much will be in those.”

In Pennsylvania, more than 2 million mail-in ballots have been returned so far. The state doesn’t have a lot of experience dealing with large amounts of mail-in ballots, unlike places like Colorado, Washing, and even Florida and Arizona, where ballots have been counted as they come in.

However, in Bucks County, officials didn’t begin counting ballots until after the polls closed, and a handful of Pennsylvania counties won’t start counting until tomorrow.

“It's been a big challenge. It has been, you know, primarily because we were not even able to

open the envelopes until today. And there's a security envelope. So, that's two envelopes you need to open. You need to be able to make sure that everything is on there, their name, their address, the date,” said Diane Marseglia, Bucks County Board of Elections. “So, you're checking for a lot of things all at the same time and then you're pulling it out, and then, you're going to start to gather them for a vote. That's a lot of time.”

If the presidential race hinges on Pennsylvania, it’s possible we won’t know who won the presidency for days.

E.W. Scripps national correspondent Maya Rodriguez is in the Keystone State, bringing you the latest on Election Day.