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

Matt Rourke
Voters across the U.S. voted in person or by mail on Tuesday and are now waiting on the results, which could take weeks to tabulate.


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 reporterKatie Myer.

In Allegheny County, WESA government and accountability editorChris 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 theElection 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 Trumpfalsely 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 itdeclined 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.”

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.


Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Julia Zenkevich is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at
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