In Pennsylvania, the time that polls close may not correspond closely with when the results of the election are known. Here is what we know about when the polls in the state close and when the results of the election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden might actually be known.
Results Could Come in Much Later After the Polls Close
In Pennsylvania, polls close at 8 p.m. Eastern. But the actual results could take much longer to come in, since votes can still be counted as long as they are received within three days of the election, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.
In fact, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf appeared in an ad airing on Election Day warning that in order to count the votes accurately, it could take a few days for results to come in, The Hill reported. The ad was funded by The Voter Project, a nonpartisan group that seeks to quell worries about the validity of the election.
Wolf said, in part: “Because of the coronavirus, there were millions of votes cast by mail, so it may take longer than usual to count every vote… So it may take a little longer than we’re used to, even a few days, but that’s okay, because it’s critical that your vote is counted — and it will be.”
ABC 6 reported that the main reason results in Pennsylvania could come in so much later than previous years is simply because more people voted by mail this year. Mail-in ballots take longer to count because they have to be removed from envelopes, checked for errors, and flattened before they can run through scanners. When you vote in person, you simply put your ballot into the scanner right away. So of course, it will take longer to tabulate mail-in ballots.
ABC 6 reported that a Republican-controlled legislature had restrictions on when mailed votes could be processed, which will lead to in-person voting being counted first. In Pennsylvania, mailed ballots can’t be counted until the morning of Election Day. In-person, Election Day voting is expected to favor Trump, but it’s possible that mail-in ballots may favor Biden.
Trump Was Angered by the Supreme Court Allowing the Mail-In Deadline To Be Extended
Trump has lashed out at the Supreme Court for its ruling on Pennsylvania ballots, Politico reported. The Supreme Court ruled that ballots postmarked by Election Day could be counted for an extended three days after the election as long as they were postmarked by election day. Trump tweeted that this was a “dangerous” precedent. Republicans had wanted a stay on a state supreme court decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 4-4 not to give that stay.
Kathy Boockvar, secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said that Trump’s tweet was wrong and voting is secure in the state, Politico reported.
In summary, you likely won’t be learning who won Pennsylvania any time this evening. Results may lean toward Trump early in the evening, since Election Day votes will likely be tabulated first. But those results might change as mail-in ballots are counted, which could take up to several days.