More than 646,000 mail-in ballots were received by midday on primary election day, according to Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman.
“County and state election officials deserve a lot of credit for administering an election during an unprecedented redistricting cycle,” Chapman said.
“We also witnessed the continuing popularity of mail voting in the commonwealth,” Chapman noted. Counties received about 900,000 mail ballot applications for the primary – nearly 800,000 applications for no-excuse mail-in ballots and 100,000 applications for absentee ballots, according to a Department of State release.
Voters had returned nearly 70 percent of those mail ballots as of Tuesday morning, with the deadline to submit them at 8 p.m. Tuesday night, stated the release.
The public also used the commonwealth’s voter help line, generating more than 1,100 calls on election day. Most callers had questions about their voter registration status, polling place location or mail-in ballots.
Two counties reported voting complications. In Berks County, at least two dozen polling places were impacted by long lines as a result of problems with new electronic poll books. A court order extended voting in Berks County an hour until 9 p.m.
In Lancaster County, county election officials were unable to scan about 22,000 mail ballots because of incorrect codes on the ballots. The county will duplicate those ballots by hand and then scan them over the next few days.
The Department offered its assistance to both counties as they resolved those issues. As unofficial election results become available from counties, they will be posted on the department’s elections return site.
Because Pennsylvania’s election laws do not permit the pre-canvassing of ballots before election day, as many other states do, counties were not able to begin mail-ballot counting until 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Chapman said she expects that counties will have the majority of ballots counted within a few days. “I want to thank county election officials and poll workers for conducting another free, fair, and secure election, and voters for turning out to do their part,” Chapman said.
“Now I ask everyone to be patient as counties continue the process of accurately and securely counting every vote.” For more information about voting in Pennsylvania visit vote.pa.gov.