PA Secretary of State: Mail-In Ballot Popularity Continues

HARRISBURG PA – Pennsylvania’s 2022 primary election was a success, Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman announced Tuesday night (May 17, 2022) at 9, an hour after polls closed statewide. More than 646,000 mail-in ballots had already been received by county Boards of Elections by midday, she reported.

“We witnessed the continuing popularity of mail voting in the commonwealth,” Chapman added.

Department of State staff members said 66 counties received about 900,000 mail ballot applications for the primary; nearly 800,000 applications for no-excuse mail-in ballots, and another 100,000 for absentee ballots. Voters had returned nearly 70 percent of those mail ballots as of Tuesday morning. The deadline to submit them was Tuesday by 8 p.m.

The staff also said it answered more than 1,100 calls Tuesday on the commonwealth’s voter help line. Most callers had questions about their voter registration status, polling place location, or mail-in ballots.

Two counties reported localized issues:

  • In Berks County, at least two dozen polling places were endured long lines as a result of problems caused by new electronic poll books being used by the county for the first time. As a result, a court order extended voting in the county by an additional hour, until 9 p.m.; and
  • In Lancaster County, election officials were unable to scan about 22,000 mail ballots because of incorrect codes on the ballots. The county will duplicate those ballots by hand and then scan them during the next few days, the department said.

Because Pennsylvania’s election laws do not permit pre-canvassing of ballots before election day, counties were unable to begin mail-ballot counting until Tuesday at 7 a.m. Chapman said she expects counties will have a majority of ballots counted within a few days.

Photo by Joel Moysuh via Unsplash, used under license