Individuals Surge to Polls: ‘I’m Going to Vote Like My Life Will depend on It’
Early voting issues are also likely to affect the Democrats more than the Republicans. In almost every state, Democrats have asked for higher postal votes than Republicans. In Pennsylvania, nearly two million registered Democrats ran postal votes, compared with fewer than 790,000 Republicans. And while 70 percent of those Democratic voters have returned their ballots, approximately 590,000 ballots sent to registered Democratic voters have not yet been returned, along with 360,000 ballots sent to registered Republicans.
The process was further disrupted by a wave of legal battles, in which Democrats often fought to expand access to postal votes against Republicans seeking tighter restrictions. Lawsuits have disrupted election deadlines in key states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and sought to restrict the use of dropboxes in Pennsylvania and Texas, among others. Judgments came only on Thursday evening, a few days before the election.
For Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court left open the possibility of a future ruling on ballots that were postmarked by election day but arrived late, and the Secretary of State asked all county electoral officials to separate those ballots.
Concerns about the US Postal Service have added to concerns. The agency said on a file that staffing problems as a result of the pandemic created problems in some facilities, including in central Pennsylvania. According to the submission, only 78 percent of the employees are available.
John Bloom, a voter in Cumberland County near Harrisburg, said he and about 30 others were planning to vote on election day to invalidate the ballots they requested and vote in person after seeing suggestions from local Democratic officials on social media.
Oct. 31, 2020, 6:40 am ET
“People are very concerned that our mail-in votes, which are likely to contain a good chunk of the county’s Democratic vote, are not counted,” said Bloom.
Kathy Boockvar, the Pennsylvania secretary of state, said the state was expecting a huge surge in ballots in recent days. Almost 50 percent of the postal votes during elementary school were returned in the last week, of which nearly 175,000 were the day before elementary school.