(WHTM) – More than 1 million Pennsylvanians have requested a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 8 election, and approximately 738,000 have already been returned.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, “once a voter has completed and returned their mail ballot, they cannot change their vote.”
State election officials are asking voters to get their ballots back in as soon as possible, mostly because of the postal service. Mail-in ballots are due to your county election board by 8 p.m. Nov. 8, election night.
With no opportunity for voters to change their minds, local election officials are not sure there’s a fix.
“That would be a big logistics challenge for elections offices,” said Julie Wheeler, who oversees elections in York County. “We would have to have a way to easily identify those ballots so we’d have to, one, make sure it’s sorted by precinct and we have 161 precincts. And then, ensure it’s alphabetized so it would be easy to find that would be a lot of logistics and a lot of processes need to be in place.”
Wheeler worries about election security if mail-ins are allowed to be changed up to election day.
“I think it opens up a larger can of worms when it comes to voting and voter integrity and all of those types of things… We would need to ensure we have the right checks and balances to ensure that if that were to happen that we got the right ballot from the right person.”
The legislative fix for mail-in voters to change their minds is not likely in a Republican-controlled legislature that is mostly mistrustful of mail-ins. Wheeler reminds counties are doing their best and are not partisan.
“We want the process to be organized, efficient, that everyone who wants to vote in the manner in which they want to vote to have the opportunity to do that and get their vote counted.”
This is the sixth election in which no excuse mail-ins have been legal in Pennsylvania. Wheeler says in the previous five elections there haven’t been issues with voters wanting to change their minds.