Philadelphia leaders on Tuesday stressed they were only taking additional steps that could slow the process because of the Republican lawsuit.
“When we had a conversation late this evening about whether Philadelphia counted all the votes, I wanted to clarify that the reason some votes were not counted was because Republican lawyers targeted Philadelphia- And only Philadelphia – they’re trying to force us to do a process that no other county does,” Republican city commissioner Seth Bleustein said Tuesday at a public elections commission meeting. said in
This process, known as the “Poll Book Settlement,” is a way to prevent double voting conducted by Philadelphia in 2020 as mail-in voting expands dramatically in the state. Election officials should suspend ballot counting and scan ballots so that the list of voters who returned their vote-by-mail ballots can be compared to the list of voters who voted in person. Court records show that the process typically takes three days.
Court records show that ballot book arbitration is not required by state law. And most counties don’t do that. But late last month, a Republican-led organization known as Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections — whose board includes founder strategist Karl Rove and former Attorney General William P. He supported a lawsuit seeking to force elections on administrators. Resume the process.
In a statement, the group praised the city for persuading it to change its stance.
“Double voting undermines the integrity of the system. said Derek Lyons, President and CEO of RITE. “Performing an audit protects the integrity of the count. As more voters choose to vote by mail ballot, it becomes more important to audit their ballots to prevent double voting. ”
In a tweet on Tuesday, the organization said city officials would be blamed for delays caused by ballot reconciliation.
City officials argued that the reconciliation process was laborious and time consuming and was no longer necessary given other improved procedures to prevent double voting and voters’ familiarity with voting by mail. In the last three elections, court records show zero double voting in the settlement process.
Pennsylvania voters rush to hold new ballots after Republican lawsuit
City officials also said they wanted to eliminate the process for complying with new state laws that provide funding to improve election administration. received $5.4 million under that law. City officials said they were concerned that suspending counts to scan ballots could be considered a disruption and put them at risk of losing grants.
A Democratic group that intervened in the lawsuit said it was “an effort to question the validity of mail-in ballots and perpetuate the unproven claim that ‘bad things happen in Philadelphia.'”
On Monday, Philadelphia State Court Judge Anne-Marie Coyle refused to order city officials to restart the process, deciding it would be an undue burden to do so on the eve of the election. Coyle issued a scathing 13-page order finding that city officials “failed to take into account the encouragement of voter fraud that could reasonably result” from their decisions. immediately appealed.
“Technically, we won the case, but the opinion was written in such a way that we had no choice but to move forward and restore the settlement,” Bluestein said at a meeting Tuesday. The chair of the committee, Chair Lisa Dealey (Democrat), voted in favor of reviving the process. Commissioner Omar Sabir (Democrat) voted against.
Most mail-in ballots are counted on Tuesday, according to city deputy mayor Nick Custodio. But the workers, like they’ve done in the past few elections, scan the ballots before counting the ballots they receive in the last day or two before the polls close. have to spend time on