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Election Day Blog: Wednesday arrives, with no clear outcomes in local, Presidential races

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Election 2020 Preview: Polling places in Cumberland County

Check back throughout the evening for updates on the election. 

12:30 a.m. update: 

As expected, it is too early to call most results throughout the county and in Pennsylvania. The record number of mail-in and absentee ballots, induced by a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 230,000 American lives, along with a lack of pre-canvassing in Cumberland County, means it may take a day or more to determine the winners of several races.

Republican Greg Rothman maintains a nearly 11,000-vote lead over Democratic challenger Nicole Miller in the 87th House District. Republican Barb Gleim also holds a similar lead, nearly 12,000, over Democrat challenger Janelle Crossley in the 199th. 

And the Congressional race between Scott Perry (R) and Eugene DePasquale (D), a race of national significance, remained to close to call after in-person ballots were counted. 

Nationally, former Vice President Joe Biden won Arizona, but President Donald Trump picked up Ohio. Georgia, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania had not been called as of publication.

Stay up to date on all local and national election coverage the rest of the week on cumberlink.com. And be sure to follow us on Twitter as well Facebook

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Election 2020: In-person voting gives incumbents the lead in 87th and 199th House districts

11:40 p.m. update: 

Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she will not resign, despite calls from Republicans to do so amidst a balloting dispute.

Boockvar made the comments during an 11 p.m. press conference with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, their second of the night after a 9 p.m. update.

Senate Republicans called for Boockvar’s resignation late Tuesday, claiming she "fundamentally altered the manner in which Pennsylvania's election is being conducted" twice in 48 hours.

Boockvar said she "disagrees with everything in their press release."

Part of the accusations appear to be related to lawsuits the GOP filed Tuesday.

In a case filed in federal court earlier on Election Day, Republican Congressional candidate Kathy Barnette accused county officials in Democratic-leaning Montgomery County of improperly giving voters a chance to fix problems with their mail-in ballots before Tuesday. A county spokeswoman said state law doesn't ban the practice.

A federal judge in Philadelphia set a hearing for Wednesday morning on the Republican bid to stop the count of 49 ballots that were amended in the suburban Philadelphia county.

On Tuesday night, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and five other plaintiffs filed suit through the state’s appellate courts to block Pennsylvania counties from allowing voters whose mail-in ballots were disqualified to cast a vote by provisional ballot.

Republicans said Boockvar had given inconsistent guidance on how to handle cases where voters flub their mail-in ballots; Boockvar said the practice of offering provisional ballots is legal and not prohibited by law. Regardless, she said there aren’t “overwhelming” numbers of voters who cast a provisional ballot after their mail-in ballot was disqualified, but she did not give an exact figure.

10:45 p.m. update: 

In-person voting results are being reported throughout the county. Check here for updates. 

UPDATED: Election 2020: How Cumberland County voted (both in-person and by mail-in)

A handful of candidates spoke to our own Tammie Gitt today about the election. Watch their Zoom interviews here: 

A chat with Nicole Miller, candidate for the 87th PA House district, on Nov. 2, 2020.

A chat with Greg Rothman, candidate for the 87th PA House district, on Election Day 2020.

A chat with Janelle Crossley, candidate for the 199th PA House district, on Election Day 2020.

10:15 p.m. update: 

The Cumberland County Bureau of Elections reported 53,172 mail-in and absentee ballots had been received as of 8 p.m. today. 

The county issued 60,133 of those ballots, meaning 88.4% of those ballots were returned by the time polls closed. 

The fate of any votes that arrive after that 8 p.m. deadline will be tricky. 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled any mail-in ballots received through Nov. 6 will county, and the U.S. Supreme Court was deadlocked 4-4 on the matter, allowing the state's top court's decision to stand.

But President Donald Trump has threatened to legally fight to toss out ballots that arrive after today, saying "we're going in with our lawyers" once polls close. And a few Supreme Court justices have suggested they'd be willing to return to the matter. 

Trump promises court fight over Pennsylvania absentee votes that are received in the three days after the election

9:55 p.m. update: 

A handful of polling places in York County experienced issues.

The York Daily Record reported a line of approximately four hours at Northeastern Middle School, where additional poll workers were dispatched to help speed up voting. 

The county's commissioner, Julie Wheeler, said the issue was a combination of social distancing guidelines, increased voter turnout and people turning up that hadn't gotten mail-in ballots that were now voting in person. 

One voter, Cheryl Flaharty, told Spotlight PA around 7:30 after she voted she had been in line since 3:30.

Other locations, however, experienced a shortage of ballots. York County uses paper ballots rather than electronic ballots like Cumberland County. York made the change in 2019. But "several" polling places ran out of paper ballots Tuesday, county spokesman Mark Walters told PennLive.

9:15 p.m. update: 

Cumberland County released its first unofficial summary, with 15 of the 118 precincts reporting results. 

The county will continue to post updates here.

A total of 10,076 votes had been counted as of the first update, which is 5.38% of the 187,257 registered voters in the county.

As those votes were being recorded, Gov. Tom Wolf spoke via livestream thanking Pennsylvanian's for how they "conducted themselves in this historic election during a global pandemic. And I'm proud that democracy is alive and well in the commonwealth." 

More than 9 million people are registered to vote in Pa. this year, a record. And more than 2.5 million mail-in ballots were cast, Wolf said. 

"County election officials, poll workers and voters efficiently and peacefully carried out today’s election amid the biggest reforms to voting in the commonwealth in 80 years,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “They embraced the new mail-in ballot option and safely voted at the polls."

8:45 p.m. update: 

Candidates expressed their thanks to voters and volunteers who worked the polls Tuesday on social media. 

Democrat Eugene DePasquale, who is challenging Scott Perry in the 10th Congressional District, posted a short, live video on Zoom through his Facebook page thanking poll workers.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you've done," he said.

Perry, the Republican incumbent, posted to his Facebook page a short thank you to voters.

"You sent a loud message to the World that we are different — that it’s 'We the People' who decide the track of our nation, not a dictator or monarch," he said.

8:20 p.m. update: 

Fun fact: 

7:55 p.m. update: 

Gov. Tom Wolf released a video about an hour before polls closed in Pennsylvania asking for patience. 

"Across the state, dedicated county workers are ready to tirelessly make sure everyone's vote counts," Wolf said in the video. "But counting that tremendous number of ballots will take more time than we're used to. We may not know the results today, but I encourage all of us to take a deep breath and be patient. What is most important is that we have accurate results, even if it takes a little longer."

Polls close shortly around the states, and due to inconsistent precanvassing efforts among the commonwealth's counties, it is possible Pennsylvania's final vote totals may not be known for several days while a record number of mail-in ballots are processed after 8 p.m.

Gov. Tom Wolf released a video Tuesday evening an hour before polls close across the state.

7:15 p.m. update: 

Officials cautioned winners might not be known for days as counties begin tabulating more than 2.5 million votes cast ahead of time in the biggest test yet of the state’s new mail-in voting law.

Elections officials said run-of-the-mill glitches popped up, including scattered problems with voting machines and tardy poll workers in the morning.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. A judge in Lackawanna County agreed to extend voting at an elementary school until 8:45 because machines were down earlier in the day, said county spokesman Joe D’Arienzo.

Other problems there were described as routine.

“It's normal stuff that we’ve had before — the power kicks off, the jam or whatever, but nothing to have stopped people from voting,” D’Arienzo said.

Some complaints arose about armed constables at polling places in central Pennsylvania, including at a voting location in Lycoming County. “At first blush, yeah, it looks intimidating,” said Matt McDermott, Lycoming County’s director of administration.

“Even though they're legally able to be there, an armed person in front of a polling place can be intimidating to voters,” said Suzanne Almeida, interim director of Common Cause of Pennsylvania, noting her group fielded a handful of such complaints.

In Pittsburgh, a polling place couldn’t open on time because the judge of elections’ car was stolen, according to Allegheny County spokesperson Amie Downs. The car, since recovered, contained a suitcase with election paperwork and keys to a ballot scanner. At another Pittsburgh polling place, two people were removed for causing a disturbance, Downs said.

And in Philadelphia, a poll worker improperly blocked a Trump campaign poll watcher from entering a voting precinct in the mistaken belief he wasn’t allowed to be there, said Kevin Feeley, spokesperson for the Board of City Commissioners, which oversees elections. The poll watcher was eventually allowed in, he said.

Read the full story on a busy, but relatively glitch-free day of voting in Pa. here.

6:45 p.m. update:

Pennsylvania votes close at 8 p.m., but any voters still in line at that time will not be denied. Anyone still in line at that time will be allowed to vote after 8 p.m., regardless of how long the line is.

But polls around the country are beginning to close.

The first polls closed in Indiana and Kentucky at 6 p.m., and more will close in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia at 7. 

Some of these states will be faster than others at reporting votes. Pennsylvania, however, may not be among them. 

The highly important battleground state may not be able to report final results for several days. While some counties started precanvassing mail-in votes once polls opened this morning, that is not happening everywhere, including in Cumberland County. 

Cumberland County sets plans for no election pre-canvass as FBI expected to talk to county about Trump security inquiry
Security info request from Trump campaign perturbs Cumberland County officials ahead of election

The podcast "Fiasco: Bush v. Gore" explores the 2000 battle for the presidency and sheds light on the current situation of the 2020 race. Host of the podcast Leon Neyfakh, joins Cheddar a day before the election to discuss.

4 p.m. update:

Lines were long throughout the morning, but they were moving at Cumberland County’s 118 precincts.

“Things are going pretty well,” said Samantha Krepps, the county’s communication’s director.

No problems have been reported, but the Bureau of Elections has been dealing with the usual calls that come with every election season — voters asking for the location of a polling place or checking to see if they are registered to vote.

Krepps said they’ve also fielded questions about mail-in or absentee ballots. Those who wish to drop it off at the Bureau of Elections can do so at their office at 1601 Ritner Highway, Carlisle, until 8 p.m. tonight.

People may also surrender their absentee ballots at the polls so that they can vote in person. Krepps reminded these voters that they need to have the ballot, secrecy envelope and outside envelope in order to do so.

As the potential for an evening rush of voters coming in after work approaches, Krepps urged those who plan to drop off a mail-in ballot to do so as soon as possible.

Krepps reminded those going to their local polling places that they will be permitted to vote if they are in line at 8 p.m., and urged them to have patience.

“It’s your time to vote your ballot,” she said.

12:30 p.m. update

President Donald Trump has tried to sow doubt about the fairness of the election, saying the only way Democrats can win Pennsylvania is to cheat. Without evidence, he said late Monday that a court decision to allow Pennsylvania to count mailed ballots received up to three days after the election will allow “rampant and unchecked cheating” and will induce street violence.

State election officials have pushed back strongly, pledging a safe and secure election. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, promised accurate results, “even if that takes a little longer than normal." Democrats accused Trump of waging a campaign of voter intimidation and suppression.

Voters cast their ballots across Cumberland County Tuesday morning.

For the most part, things seemed to be going fairly smoothly at the polls.

“We have not seen anything significant where it comes to voter intimidation or harassment. We are seeing enthusiastic partisan supporters in some places, but we are not seeing the kind of concerns that we may have had in the run-up to today,” said Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania.

9:15 a.m. Update:

Pennsylvania voters are poised to play a crucial and perhaps decisive role in choosing the next president as Donald Trump and Joe Biden headline a statewide election in which millions of ballots have already been cast.

Polls opened Tuesday against the backdrop of a pandemic, a police shooting and civil unrest in Philadelphia, and the potential for a drawn-out legal fight over late-arriving mail-in ballots. Election officials cautioned the winner might not be known for days as counties begin tabulating more than 2.4 million votes that arrived by mail.

Long lines formed at many polling places in Cumberland County as voters also decided races for Congress, the General Assembly and a trio of statewide offices — attorney general, auditor general and treasurer.

The county-by-county tabulation is expected to last for several days because of a year-old state law that greatly expanded mail-in voting. The state Supreme Court, citing Postal Service delays, the huge number of people voting by mail because of COVID-19 and the strain on county boards of election, ordered counties to count mail-in ballots received up to three days after the vote, so long as they are mailed by Election Day.

The status of mailed ballots arriving after polls close at 8 p.m. has the potential to become significant if the nationwide result hinges on the outcome of Pennsylvania’s vote, and if the ballots are potentially decisive. Republicans have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent any late-arriving ballots from being counted, citing state election law. The great majority of mail-in ballots have been cast by Democrats, according to state data.

Trump won Pennsylvania by less than 1 percentage point in 2016, eking out a surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton to become the first Republican presidential candidate since 1988 to take the state. No Democrat has lost Pennsylvania but won the White House since Harry Truman in 1948.

Election Day voting

Voters line up to vote Tuesday morning in North Middleton Township at the North Middleton Twp Volunteer Fire Company Station #1. 

Election Day voting

Voters line up to vote Tuesday morning in North Middleton Township at the North Middleton Township Volunteer Fire Company Station #1. 

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Election officials caution that results may take some time in the state, which is holding its first general election in which voters do not need an excuse to vote by mail. More than 3 million applied to do so.

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