Fetterman: Ballot Counting in Pennsylvania Could Take ‘Several Days’

Fetterman: Ballot Counting in Pennsylvania Could Take ‘Several Days’
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman addresses supporters during a joint rally with Democratic candidate for Governor Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro at Norris Park in Philadelphia, Pa., on Oct. 15, 2022. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

The campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman announced on Monday that the counting process in Pennsylvania could take “several days” before the results are made clear.

“Buckle up for a long week,” reads a memo published by Fetterman’s Campaign Manager Brendan McPhillips. “This race is close, and we should all be prepared for a process that takes several days before all eligible voters are properly counted and the results are clear.”

Similar to the 2020 presidential elections, Pennsylvanians are allowed to cast their votes via mail-in ballots, and more than 1.4 million mail ballots have been requested in the state for the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

According to the memo, roughly 70 percent of those requests came from registered Democrats, while about 20 percent were from registered Republicans.

McPhillips said he issued the warning due to concerns of a repeat of what happened when President Donald Trump and Joe Biden were on the ballot.

In 2020, Trump initially had a large lead over Biden in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania before election officials started to count mail-in votes, giving people the impression of a GOP victory that later triggered election fraud accusations when the Keystone State was declared for Biden.

“We expect that in-person votes will skew Republican, and that mail votes will skew heavily Democratic—similar to how they did in 2020,” the memo reads.

“Because Pennsylvania is one of the only states that reports Election Day totals first before ballots cast by mail, and because more populated counties around Philadelphia can take longer to report, we should expect one of the most dramatic shifts in the country from initial GOP support in early results to stronger Democratic gains as more votes are processed,” it added.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also said on Monday that election results likely won’t be known on Nov. 8 and the final tally won’t come for “a few days.”

“We may not know all the winners of elections for a few days. It takes time to count all legitimate ballots in a legal and orderly manner. That’s how this is supposed to work,” Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House. “You heard the president say this last night.”

The predictions in delayed vote counting have drawn criticism among a number of politicians, including Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.

“That’s an attempt to have the fix in,” Mastriano said in an interview with Real America’s Voice, according to local media reports.

Fetterman is locked in a tight race against Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, a celebrity surgeon endorsed by Trump. Polling shows a neck-and-neck race between the two candidates.

Fetterman Sues Federal Court

Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered counties to not count any ballots that are in undated or incorrectly dated envelopes in the upcoming Nov. 8 elections, siding with national and state Republican groups in a lawsuit filed about three weeks ago.

In Monday’s memo, Fetterman’s campaign called this “an intentional move to help Republicans baselessly sow doubt about the election results when it suits them.”

A new federal lawsuit over the envelope dates was filed on Monday in Pittsburgh federal court by Fetterman’s campaign, joined by the Democrat House and Senate campaign entities, asking a federal judge to allow the counting of problematic mail-in ballots in the hope of superseding the Supreme Court decision.

“The date [requirement] imposes unnecessary hurdles that eligible Pennsylvanians must clear to exercise their most fundamental right, resulting in otherwise valid votes being arbitrarily rejected without any reciprocal benefit to the Commonwealth,” reads the lawsuit, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The state’s supreme court Nov. 1 decision came after the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in October joined in filing a lawsuit to block undated mail-in ballots and absentee ballots from being counted, even if they are received on time.

Pennsylvania state law requires that voters handwrite a date on the outer envelope when they send in mail ballots. However, the date that’s handwritten on the envelope is not used to verify whether a ballot has been received on time for the election, because the ballots are supposed to be time-stamped when they arrive at county offices.

Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.

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