Pennsylvania’s Painstakingly Slow Election Process


Rob Pegoraro via the Creative Commons License

Pennsylvania ballot drop boxes like this one were filled as covid concerns incentivized people to stay away from the polling stations

It was evident in the moment that the election would not be called on Tuesday night as almost every other recent election had been. Due to states like Pennsylvania, too close and slow for media outlets to call, the election as a whole could not be called until the day of November 7th when Pennsylvania announced Joe Biden the winner which sent him over the magic number of electoral college votes; 270.

A number of factors played into the pace at which Pennsylvania counted their presidential ballots. A big player in this year’s election was the controversially high number of mail-in ballots that were heavily weighted in favor of the democratic candidate Joe Biden. Due to state legislation, these could not be counted until 7:00 am on election day. The immense amount of mail-in ballots was new to the system and understandably created some backup. 

Another important issue adding to the lack of speed that the Pennsylvania electoral system moved with was the fact the state was accepting the mail-in ballots received up until 3 days after the election day. This created an obvious delay of at least 3 days to call the state and it was not to the liking of the President. 

Early Wednesday morning, Democratic governor Tom Wolf urged people to “take a deep breath and be patient”. He also stated on Twitter, “We still have over 1 million mail ballots to count in Pennsylvania. I promised Pennsylvanians that we would count every vote and that’s what we’re going to do.”

After a long wait, the AP and other sources called the state for Democratic Candidate Joe Biden which was unexpected at the beginning as it was trending republican before the continuance of ballot counting. This triggered reactions from some top Republicans. 

President Trump responded via Twitter Monday, afternoon saying, “Pennsylvania prevented us from watching much of the Ballot Count. Unthinkable and illegal in this country”(Twitter). Twitter flagged this post and many others like it as misleading information.