Pennsylvania is often a deciding state in the presidential election; however, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic many voters are opting for a mail-in ballot, but a new ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court could prevent thousands of votes from being counted.
On Sept. 17, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that mail-in ballots must be enclosed in the secrecy envelope to be counted by poll workers. The ruling also includes absentee ballots.
After a voter applies for their mail-in ballot he or she will receive it through the mail. The voter will mark their ballot and seal it in the secrecy envelope and then mail into their county election office, according to votespa.com.
Much of the emphasis in Election Day preparation has focused on voter registration deadlines and mail-in deadlines; however, some are worried the addition of secrecy envelopes will confuse voters.
Last Monday, Lisa Deeley, Philadelphia city commissioners chairwoman, sent a letter to Pennsylvania lawmakers saying the requirement of the secrecy envelope would cause “electoral chaos.”
In her letter, Deeley explained how eliminating the secrecy envelope would benefit the voting process such as helping to streamline the process, would cost nothing and allow more ballots to be scanned per hour.
The deadline for voter registration in Pennsylvania is Oct. 19 and mail-in ballot applications need to be received by the voter’s county election office on Oct. 27 by 5 p.m., according to votespa.com. The deadline to return a mail-in ballot is 8 p.m. on Election Day, Votespa.com said.
For more information on voter registration and mail-in ballots, visit votespa.com/Pages/default.aspx.