by Terrie Griffin and Janeth Hendershot
After an unprecedented election session, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania is deeply appreciative of those who made our elections safe and secure in Pennsylvania. We acknowledge the significant time and effort of election officials, county commissioners and staff, poll workers, postal workers, election protection and voter registration groups, the PA Department of State, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. Please accept our heartfelt thanks for your tireless work in challenging circumstances.
The League of Women Voters is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to our members and the public. We believe in free and fair elections, and have worked tirelessly this election season to protect the right of Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots safely.
As the final ballot count continues across the Commonwealth, it’s important for the public to understand that, to date, there is no credible evidence of fraud or of anything that would compromise the integrity of the Pennsylvania vote count.
By law, all handling of ballots is done in view of certified observers from both major parties, with systems in place to ensure a fair and accurate count. Last week, the Trump campaign sued to stop ballot counting in Philadelphia, falsely asserting that there were no Republican observers. In reality, there were at least 34 Republican observers in the convention center counting center, permitted to be within 10 feet of the process. Judge Paul Diamond denied the suit to stop the count and instructed election officials to arrange a compromise with the Trump campaign, resulting in barriers moved from 10 feet to 6 and permission for up to 60 observers from each party. At no time were ballots handled without Republican observers within viewing distance.
In response to partisan claims of foul play, it is important to consider overall election results.
While President-Elect Joe Biden won a substantial victory in Pennsylvania, Republicans also made significant gains. Voters returned most Republican incumbents to their seats while removing some long-term Democrat incumbents.
The League of Women Voters continues to underscore that the delay and drama of the past week could have easily been avoided by a timely bill to address pre-canvassing of ballots. The entire nation experienced delay and distress due to partisan attempts to leverage electoral rules for specific party advantage. Without the legislative assistance they requested, the Department of State and our election officials and staff still carried out their work to the best of their ability.
As we await final election results, we must trust the process, count every vote, and work toward a cooperative future. It is also important that we celebrate. Election Day processes were conducted smoothly under challenging circumstances. Pennsylvania saw the expansion of voting access, increased use of absentee and mail-in voting, and record-breaking early voting numbers this election season. By making voting more accessible, we took one step closer to creating a more equitable democracy.
(Terrie Griffin and Janeth Hendershot are Co-Presidents, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.)