This memo addresses a few key questions about voting trends:
- How did voters in Pennsylvania respond to voting against the backdrop of COVID-19 and statewide protests (turnout, vote mode, and voter registration) in their June 2 primary election?
- How did Pennsylvania voting behavior differ by race, age, sex, party, and first-time voter status?
- Finally, with a dramatic increase in mail voting and challenges related to processing mail-in ballot requests, what can we learn from data gathered about mail ballot rejection reasons and qualitative voter surveys in preparation for November?
Pennsylvania Updates and Election News:
10/23/20 - Signature Matching Change: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that ballots cannot be rejected because of a signature mismatch. This supports the Secretary of State's guidelines from September, allowing ballots to be counted even if the signatures do not match.
10/19/20 - Ballot Deadline: The Supreme Court has upheld the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to allow ballots to be counted as long as they are mailed by Election Day and received three days after Election Day.
10/3/20 - Voter Registration Backlog: Due to a shortage of DMV employees, Pennsylvania is experiencing a massive backlog in voter registration processing. Some people who registered months ago have yet to have their registration processed.
9/21/20 - Ballot Security Decision: A recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court requires officials to reject ballots without two envelopes: ballots must be inserted into a "secrecy envelope" that is then placed into a second envelope that the voter signs. This ruling would reject ballots without the "secrecy envelope." In response, some officials are concerned about "electoral chaos" and the possibility of tens of thousands of rejected ballots.
9/17/20 - Litigation Update: In a series of multiple rulings, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (1) allowed mail ballots to be counted if received by election officals by 5 p.m. on the Friday after Election Day, (2) allowed for the use of drop boxes to return mail ballots, and (3) removed Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins from the ballot.
9/16/20 - Poll Worker Surge: Poll worker recruitment has ramped up significantly since the June primary, with 35,000 applications received in just three months. Pennsylvania needs between 40,000 and 45,000 poll workers to run a general election.
9/14/20 - Ballot Delays: While ballots were intended to be mailed out on September 14th, due to litigation, namely whether or not to allow the Green Party on the ballot, election officials now expect ballots to be mailed no earlier than late September.