Pennsylvania’s top election official predicted Sunday that it will be “days” after Election Day until all ballots in the swing state are counted. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump reportedly plans to declare victory Tuesday before results in key battleground states have been fully tabulated.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to explain how much “patience” Americans should have this week regarding the election.
“Nearly 2.4 million Pennsylvanians have already cast their ballot by mail,” Broockvar said. “This is going to be 10 times as many as the last time we had a presidential election in Pennsylvania. So, yes, it will take longer. But having said that, I want to be clear that elections have never been called election night.”
She added: “I expect the overwhelming majority of ballots in Pennsylvania ... will be counted within a matter of days. The counties are staffing up, have a ton of equipment, best practices in place and are planning for the most part to count 24/7 until it’s done.”
As of Sunday, more than 50 million Americans had already voted by mail amid coronavirus concerns.
At least seven counties in Pennsylvania — which account for more than 550,000 voters in total — plan to wait until after Election Day to begin counting mail-in ballots.
Election officials in at least two other battleground states ― Wisconsin and Michigan ― aren’t allowed to begin processing mail-in ballots until on or just before Election Day.
Trump has repeatedly tried to undermine the integrity of the election by claiming mail-in voting is rife with fraud. (Election officials nationwide have disputed this claim.)
Though election experts have said it could take days for election results to be finalized, Trump has repeatedly said a winner should be declared on election night. The president plans to claim victory Tuesday night if it appears as though he’s “ahead,” Axios reported Sunday, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the president’s private comments.
Recent polling showed Democrats are more likely than Republicans to mail in their ballots ahead of Election Day. This suggests that Republicans could represent the majority of in-person voters on Tuesday, which could show results favorable to Trump on election night before mail-in ballots have been counted.
Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller baselessly claimed Democrats will try to “steal” the election should Trump appear ahead on election night.