WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The general election is fast approaching. In Pennsylvania, three million votes will be cast by mail-in ballots. On Tuesday, state officials urged voters to return those ballots as soon as possible to ensure that your vote will be counted.
“If you still have your mail in ballot, fill it out now. Don’t wait. Hand deliver your vote ballot at a secure drop box or at the county board of election,” said Governor Tom Wolf.
Governor Tom Wolf urges voters not to delay returning the mail-in ballots. The ballots must be delivered to a drop box by November 3. Ballots that are mailed-in, have to be postmarked by November 3 and must reach your county board of elections by November 6.
Kathy Boockvar, the secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of State, which oversees elections in the commonwealth, says tabulating the mail in ballots will take time.
“I know everyone is thinking about how long it’s going to take to get the results. As Governor Wolf said, we are working very closely with all 67 counties. Of course our first priority is, and should be, to count every ballot accurately and after that as quickly as humanly possible.”
Luzerne County, which many political analysts say could decide which presidential candidate wins Pennsylvania and subsequently the White House, mailed out nearly 70,000 mail-in ballots.
“Since we have that three days extension, we can’t have a final count until we have all the mail-in ballots. As long as they are postmarked Election Day, we have to count them. That three day period, so I’m estimating at least a week,” said Keith Gould, a member of the Luzerne County Board of Elections.
Luzerne County manager Dave Pedri is optimistic that much of vote count could be completed by the end of election week, of course pending any mail-in ballots that are received by November 6.
“By Pennsylvania law, we are not allowed to even start opening them until Election Day. So we are not going to have results on election night. So people will need to be aware of that. We are shooting for the next day, but more likely that Thursday after the Election.”
The final vote tally for all races cannot be finalized until all of the mail in ballots are received on November 6. Pedri says the votes cast at polling places will be tallied up on election night.
For updates on your mail-in ballot or for further direction, visit the state’s election website.