Voters Cast Their Ballots, Now Election Results Are A ‘Waiting Game’


On today's program: Pennsylvania has begun to tally votes, but final results won’t be available for a few days; and, as ballots are processed, Pennsylvania and other states could see more legal challenges.

Over 1 million mail-in ballots still to be counted in PA
(00:00 — 11:36)

The presidential election is still too close to call in the country, with President Donald Trump falsely claiming victory last night. The Keystone State is set to be the key to securing 270 electoral votes. But, with the surge in mail-in voting—which could only start being processed on Election Day—this will take time.

Allegheny County suspended counting mail-in ballots at around 2 a.m. after some technical problems and difficulties smoothing out the ballots to go in the scanners. They resumed counting mail-in ballots at 10 a.m. An estimated 1.4 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania still need to be counted.

Final results will likely not be ready for a few more days. The Department of State has said they think the majority of votes in Pennsylvania will be counted by Friday, says WHYY political reporter Katie Myer.

In Allegheny County, WESA government and accountability editor Chris Potter says the majority of ballots will likely be counted by later today.

“I don’t know that I can say it’ll be done by 5 p.m. or whatever, but I have a feeling we’ll have a better picture here in western Pennsylvania earlier than we are going to get from Philadelphia,” he says.

“I think right now it’s just a waiting game, which is frustrating but expected,” says Myer.

Find more election updates on the Election 2020 Live Blog.

After Election Day, more legal challenges could come down the line, says Pitt professor
(11:39 — 17:51)

Pennsylvania’s secretary of the commonwealth and the elections officials in all 67 counties were the target of multiple lawsuits leading up to Election Day. There were legal challenges to signatures on envelopes of mail-in ballots not matching signatures on file, and counties setting up drop off boxes for those ballots. Those suits were rejected.


As ballots are processed, more legal action could happen.

President Trump falsely claimed victory last night and said he wants to take a case to the Supreme Court to stop what he says is “illegal vote-counting” (though voting has stopped and the ballots being counted were cast legally).

Jessie Allen, an associate professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh who has litigated voting rights cases in swing states, says “it’s a completely baseless claim that there’s some kind of fraud in the air.”

The Supreme Court could take up a challenge to Pennsylvania’s deadline to count mail-in ballots that are received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election that it declined to hear before the election, and there could be other claims that make their way up to the Supreme Court, Allen says.

She says it’s unclear at this point which precedents and rulings could be used in future election seasons.

“When Bush v. Gore came down, the court said very clearly, ‘this is, you know, a ticket for one ride only, never to be used as precedent.’ And the case that’s up at the Supreme Court from Pennsylvania now cites that, and another case in federal court cites Bush v. Gore, so you just never know how court rulings will be used in the future.”

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