Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, two of the most important states in this year’s presidential election, are still waiting on a large number of ballots, and voters are running out of time to return them to election officials.
As of Friday morning, election officials in Wisconsin were still awaiting 200,000 mail-in ballots, which must be received by Tuesday evening in order to be counted in this year’s presidential election.
By comparison, the presidential race in election was decided by 23,000 votes in 2016.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court denied Democrats who asked for ballots that are postmarked on time but not received by Election Night to be counted. Election officials in Wisconsin say that mail delivery could take up to one week, so for those who have yet to return a ballot, they should do so at a county clerk’s office.
“The absentee by mail deadlines in law don’t correspond with the amount of time it may take to receive and return your ballot by mail,” said Meagan Wolfe, administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Commission. “That is why the Wisconsin Elections Commission since the start of the pandemic earlier this year has been urging voters who wish to vote absentee by mail to request them as soon as possible.”
In Pennsylvania, the state has mailed out 3 million ballots to voters, said Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. Of the 3 million, some 27% were yet to be returned. Boockvar is recommending voters in Pennsylvania utilize drop boxes throughout the state in order to have their vote tabulated.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended the deadline for the state to receive ballots to November 6. Republicans appealed to the US Supreme Court, but the high court refused to overturn the state ruling.
There are also questions about how long it will take in Pennsylvania to tabulate mail-in votes. Boockvar is urging counties to begin counting on the morning of Election Day, which is the earliest by law officials can begin counting.
"We are directly reaching out to the counties to explain why it matters to get started with pre-canvassing on Election Day, even if they can only do part of it," Boockvar said. "The overwhelming majority of counties are already planning to start pre-canvassing mail ballots the moment they can. I urge those few counties thinking about waiting until after the election to reconsider."