Decision 2020

Counties Ask for Patience as Anxious Pa. Voters Wait for Mail-in Ballots

Many ballots have yet to arrive for voters who requested a mail-in ballot weeks ago. County election officials say most of the ballots have been printed and are either en route to voters or will be by next week.

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Kirtan Pandya and his parents, who are residents of Ivyland in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, have been waiting for weeks for the mail-in ballots they requested in mid-September.

Nearby in Montgomery County, Mitchell Greenwald said he and his wife also have not yet received mail-in ballots they requested weeks ago.

"In my case I applied last month, the website says it was mailed on Sept. 30, and it still has not come," Greenwald said. "My wife's status said it was mailed on Oct. 5 and it has not come. It should never take more than a few days to get a ballot."

All five voters are among the more than 2.6 million Pennsylvania voters who have requested mail-in ballots in the Nov. 3 presidential election. Data provided by the state online shows that hundreds of thousands of ballots have been mailed to voters since the Department of State certified the ballots last month.

Still, in counties like Bucks and Montgomery, many voters who haven't yet received their ballots are getting anxious.

"I guess everyone is on different timelines but I’ve seen other PA residents who have had them returned," Pandya, who is registered independent, said.

He said his parents, who are registered Democrats, used mail-in ballots in the June primary and everything went smoothly.

"They requested them and got them relatively quickly. It was seamless during the primary," he said.

A spokesman for Bucks County's Board of Elections said Pandya and other voters who haven't received their ballots yet should not be concerned.

Larry King, the county spokesman, said roughly a third of the 166,000 mail-in ballots requested by Bucks County voters have been mailed. The remaining two-thirds of the ballots are going out this week.

"They really should not be concerned if not received the ballot this week," King said. "If they are not received by the end of next week, they should be checking back."

Three Philly-area Congressional representatives and the Pennsylvania Attorney General gathered outside a U.S. Postal Service facility in Eastwick Thursday, calling for changes that would ensure timely and more reliable mail deliveries as ballots are already being cast. NBC10's Drew Smith explains.

Montgomery County Commissioner Kenneth Lawrence Jr., who is the chairman of the Board of Elections, said he himself hasn't received a mail-in ballot that he requested.

Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the deciding states in the presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The seismic shift the way voters will cast ballots in the election has caused many county election officials to preach patience once counting begins Election Day.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here is a map and list of all the mail-in ballot drop box locations for counties in the Philadelphia region.

Those officials have said the estimated 3 million mail-in ballots could take days to count because the Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf have not come to an agreement that would allow counting those ballots before Nov. 3.

The requests for mail-in ballots has been very lopsided, with three times as many Democrats requesting mail-in voting as Republicans.

"My Republican friends are voting in person," Greenwald, a Democrat, said.

That could mean that declaring a winner between Trump and Biden could take several days.

If you’re voting by mail in Pennsylvania, there are a few steps you need to make sure you complete to properly fill out your ballot. Here’s a step-by-step guide. Need to drop off your ballot? Here’s a list of ballot drop-off locations in Pennsylvania. Here’s a list of ballot drop-off locations in New Jersey.
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