National Council on Election Integrity urges Pennsylvania governor and legislature to adopt plan to allow absentee ballots to be processed prior to Election Day

The National Council on Election Integrity — a bipartisan group of more than 40 former government, political, and civic leaders, including former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge — today issued the following statement urging the Pennsylvania legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf to adopt a bipartisan, commonsense plan to allow election officials in Pennsylvania to begin processing ballots prior to Election Day:

“Because of the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans are expected to vote using absentee ballots than ever before, including in Pennsylvania, where more than 2.5 million people have already requested absentee ballots.

“Yet Pennsylvania, one of the key battleground states in this year’s presidential election, is one of just six states that does not currently allow state and local election officials to begin processing absentee ballots — verifying voters’ signatures, opening ballots, and other important administrative tasks — prior to Election Day. This will most likely prolong the vote count this year.

“The governor and the legislature still have time to remedy this issue and adopt a commonsense, bipartisan plan to give election officials more time to deal with the upcoming deluge of absentee ballots so that delays in vote counts can be avoided.

“The time to fix this problem is now. Pennsylvania should establish a multi-day processing period for absentee ballots in the days ahead of Election Day. Providing election officials with more time to process absentee ballots is smart policy and smart politics.”

Added former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a member of the National Council on Election Integrity and former secretary of Homeland Security: “An unprecedented number of Pennsylvanians will be casting absentee ballots this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers in Harrisburg and Gov. Tom Wolf must come together before it’s too late to give election officials the time they need to process ballots prior to Election Day.”