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Heres Why Pennsylvania Is Taking So Long To Count—And How The GOP Is Challenging The Vote

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The winner of the presidential election in Pennsylvania was still unknown Tuesday night, with the counting of mail-in ballots likely to take up to several days to complete—and Republicans are attempting to alter the count by challenging mail-in ballots.

Voters wait in line at the Oakmont United Methodist Church on November 3, 2020 in Oakmont, … [+] Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

Crucial Quote

“Across the state, dedicated county workers are ready to tirelessly make sure everyone’s vote gerom.org counting that tremendous number of ballots will take more time than we are used to,” Wolf said in a video message to voters Tuesday night, telling voters to “take a deep breath and be patient.” “What is most important is that we have accurate results, even if that takes a little longer.”

Big Number

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2,506,557. That’s the number of mail-in ballots that were ultimately returned in Pennsylvania by Tuesday, according to state data reported by the U.S. Elections Project. Mail-in ballots are currently allowed to arrive up to three days after Election Day, potentially increasing that count, but they will be segregated from other ballots and could potentially be invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Key Background

Pennsylvania has been one of the most contested battleground states in the presidential election, as the Trump campaign and GOP spent the run-up to Election Day challenging everything from the state’s mail-in ballot deadline and ballot drop boxes to poll watchers and the mail-in ballots themselves. President Donald Trump has frequently complained about the state’s voting policies and raised the possibility of post-election legal challenges, calling the extended mail-in voting deadline a “disaster for our nation” and saying Philadelphia’s refusal to allow poll watchers in satellite election offices where mail-in ballots get dropped off—because they’re not official polling places—was “corruption.”

What To Watch For

Democratic candidate Joe Biden expressed optimism early Wednesday morning that the state would ultimately be decided in his favor. “It’s gonna take time to count the votes, but we’re gonna win Pennsylvania,” Biden told supporters in Delaware, saying he had “been talking to folks in Philly, Allegheny County and Scranton and they’re really encouraged by the turnout and what they see.”

Further Reading

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Republicans Sue Pennsylvania To Throw Out Provisional Ballots (Forbes)

GOP Sues To Throw Out Corrected Mail-In Ballots In Pennsylvania (Forbes)

Pennsylvania’s unprecedented pandemic election went ‘remarkably smoothly.’ Now all that’s left is counting votes. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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